Adaptive Malleability of Memory: Involuntary Memory in Executing Interpersonal Self-Deception

  •  Hui Jing Lu    


Extending earlier work on the function of memory in executing self-deception, we hypothesized that involuntary conscious memory was temporarily lost or distorted to help the deceiver keep truthful information away from both self and others, whereas unconscious memory remained intact. In two experiments, participants were instructed to deceive a high- or low-status target by concealing previously studied words. Results showed that involuntary conscious memory but not voluntary conscious memory or unconscious memory of the participants differed between the two conditions of deception and nondeception, when the deceiving target was a high- compared to low-status person. This study pinpoints the involuntary conscious memory among the memory components in executing self-deception and supports the adaptive malleability of memory.

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