Deutsch Intern
Lehrstuhl für Psychologie III

Lying and cheating

Anna Foerster, Roland Pfister, Robert Wirth, Felicitas Muth


Most people lie regularly, and many do so on a daily basis, rendering lying an integral part of human communication. Responding truthfully on each and every occasion may yield negative consequences at times, and being dishonest may come as a convenient alternative in this case.

Building on cognitive models of deception, we identify the cognitive processes that are involved in creating, maintaining, and monitoring our own deceptive behavior. Employing the perspective of cognitive control, we identify strategies that can minimize the effect of dishonesty on our behavior, as for example the explicit use of false alibis.

This work is supported by the German Academic Scholarship Foundation (German: Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes).


For further details, see:


Foerster, A., Pfister, R., Schmidt, C., Dignath, D. & Kunde, W. (2013). Honesty saves time (and justifications). Frontiers in Decision Neuroscience, 4, 473.


Pfister, R., Foerster, A., & Kunde, W. (2014). Pants on fire: The electrophysiological signature of telling a lie. Social Neuroscience, 9(6), 562-572.


Pfister, R., Foerster, A., Schwarz, K.A., & Wirth, R. (2014). Lässt sich ein guter Hochstapler als solcher entlarven? Wenn ja: Wie? In: W. Schwanebeck (Ed.), Über Hochstapelei: Perspektiven auf eine kulturelle Praxis (63-72). Berlin: Neofelis.


Foerster, A., Wirth, R., Herbort, O., Kunde, W., & Pfister, R. (2017). Lying upside-down: Alibis reverse cognitive burdens of dishonesty. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, 23(3), 301-319.


Foerster, A., Wirth, R., Kunde, W., & Pfister, R. (2017). The dishonest mind set in sequence. Psychological Research, 81(4), 878-899.


Foerster, A. Pfister, R., Schmidts, C., Dignath, D. Wirth, R., & Kunde, W. (2018). Focused cognitive control in dishonesty: evidence for predominantly transient conflict adaptation. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 44(4), 578-602.


(last updated in May, 2018)