Creating a false alibi leads to errors of commission and omission

P. Riesthuis*, H. Otgaar, A. De Cort, G. Bogaard, I. Mangiulli

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Web of Science)


A suspect of a crime can avoid legal repercussions by creating a false alibi. We examined whether creating such a false alibi can have adverse effects on memory. To do so, participants watched a mock crime video and were either instructed to create a false alibi or to provide an honest account for what they actually saw in the video. After a 2-day and 1-month delay, all participants were instructed to come forward with the truth using a free recall task. Participants who initially created a false alibi had more commission errors after a 2-day and 1-month delay (vs. truth telling participants). Moreover, participants who created a false alibi reported fewer correct details after a 2-day and 1-month delay (vs. truth telling participants). Our study suggests that like other types of deception, creating a false alibi can elicit memory undermining effects in the form of commission and omission errors.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)936-945
Number of pages10
JournalApplied Cognitive Psychology
Issue number4
Early online date7 Jul 2022
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2022


  • deception
  • false alibi
  • memory

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