Uninstructed BIAT faking when ego depleted or in normal state: Differential effect on brain and behavior

Wolff, Wanja; Schindler, Sebastian; Englert, Christoph; Brand, Ralf; Kissler, Johanna (2016). Uninstructed BIAT faking when ego depleted or in normal state: Differential effect on brain and behavior. BMC neuroscience, 17(1), p. 18. BioMed Central 10.1186/s12868-016-0249-8

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Background: Deception can distort psychological tests on socially sensitive topics. Understanding the cerebral processes that are involved in such faking can be useful in detection and prevention of deception. Previous research shows that faking a brief implicit association test (BIAT) evokes a characteristic ERP response. It is not yet known whether temporarily available self-control resources moderate this response. We randomly assigned 22 participants (15 females, 24.23 ± 2.91 years old) to a counterbalanced repeated-measurements design. Participants first completed a Brief-IAT (BIAT) on doping attitudes as a baseline measure and were then instructed to fake a negative doping attitude both when self-control resources were depleted and non-depleted. Cerebral activity during BIAT performance was assessed using high-density EEG. Results: Compared to the baseline BIAT, event-related potentials showed a first interaction at the parietal P1, while significant post hoc differences were found only at the later occurring late positive potential. Here, significantly decreased amplitudes were recorded for ‘normal’ faking, but not in the depletion condition. In source space, enhanced activity was found for ‘normal’ faking in the bilateral temporoparietal junction. Behaviorally, participants were successful in faking the BIAT successfully in both conditions. Conclusions: Results indicate that temporarily available self-control resources do not affect overt faking success on a BIAT. However, differences were found on an electrophysiological level. This indicates that while on a phenotypical level self-control resources play a negligible role in deliberate test faking the underlying cerebral processes are markedly different. Electronic supplementary material: The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12868-016-0249-8) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Education > Educational Psychology
07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Education

UniBE Contributor:

Englert, Christoph


300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 370 Education




BioMed Central




Christoph Englert

Date Deposited:

12 Jul 2016 11:56

Last Modified:

19 Jul 2018 11:52

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:






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