Everyone Knows That Alcohol Makes The Truth Come Out More Easily, Right?

Research Paper Title

In Vino Veritas? Alcohol, Response Inhibition and Lying.

Background

Despite the widespread belief that alcohol makes the truth come out more easily, we know very little on how alcohol impacts deception. Given that alcohol impairs response inhibition, and that response inhibition may be critically involved in deception, we expected that alcohol intake would hamper lying.

Methods

In total, 104 volunteers were tested at a science festival, where they had the opportunity to drink alcohol. Stop-Signal Reaction Times (SSRTs) served as operationalization of response inhibition. Differences in error rates and reaction times (RTs) between lying and truth telling served as indicators of the cognitive cost of lying.

Results

Higher blood alcohol concentration was related to longer SSRTs, but unrelated to the cognitive costs of lying.

Conclusion

This study validates previous laboratory research on alcohol and response inhibition in a realistic drinking environment, yet failed to find an effect of alcohol on lying. Implications of these findings and for the role of response inhibition in lying are discussed.

Reference

, K., , G., , E., , K. & 

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