Term of Award

Fall 1997

Degree Name

Master of Science in Psychology

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (restricted to Georgia Southern)


Department of Psychology

Committee Chair

William D. McIntosh

Committee Member 1

John D. Murray

Committee Member 2

Richard L. Rogers


The purpose of the present study was to explore the processes associated with introspection in order to determine the conditions under which the quality of preferences and decisions are improved. First, participants were asked to engage in "why" or "what" thinking with regard to whether they thought a target person was lying or telling the truth. Second, the participants made a yes or no judgment of how accurate they thought they were at detecting deception. The manipulation of "why" versus "what" thinking was examined in both the "others" focused task, and the "self focused task. The "why" group was significantly more accurate at detecting deception in others than the "what" group. However, thinking in "why" or "what" terms had no effect on overall confidence and accuracy at detecting deception in the "self focused tasks. Results indicated that thinking in "why" terms does not always result in ill effects as most researchers suggest, and that sometimes "why" thinking can be helpful.


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