Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name





Angela M. Crossman

Subject Categories

Law | Psychology


Adolescents, Deception, Deception Detection, Framing, Illusion of Transparency, Self-Consciousness


Individuals often overestimate the ability of others to accurately determine their internal states. This illusion of transparency has been shown to manifest itself in everyday scenarios, including when people are asked to estimate if others can tell when they are lying. Yet it has not been observed when truth-telling, nor investigated developmentally. The current experiments tested for an illusion of transparency when individuals were truth-telling and lying and investigated how a participant's age, dispositional self-consciousness, situational self-awareness and how questions were framed impacted the strength and prevalence of the illusion of transparency.

In Experiments 1 and 2, children and adolescents (ages 9 to 17; n = 34) and undergraduates (n = 91) participated in a lie/truth-telling game, during which participants made true and false statements corresponding to past real-life events. Half of their statements were mock video recorded to alter their state of situational, public self-awareness. Participants estimated the transparency of their statements while other players judged the veracity. When estimating transparency, participants were asked to determine the number of other players who thought they were telling the truth or the number of others who thought they were lying. In Experiment 3, 135 undergraduate students played the same lie/truth-telling game, but the situational self-awareness manipulation varied between subjects and a mirror condition was added to investigate situational, private self-awareness.

Results from the studies provide evidence that an illusion of transparency exists among truth-tellers. Participants in all three studies overestimated the number of others who would believe them when telling the truth. However, an illusion of transparency was not observed when participants were lying. There was a consistent interaction between statement veracity and framing. When telling the truth, participant's predicted more transparency when questioned with the truth frame than the lie frame, but when lying participant's predicted more transparency when questioned with the lie frame. Differences in the illusion were not impacted by the grade level of participants, likely due to an absence of developmental differences in self-consciousness. Child and adolescent participants experienced a greater illusion of transparency when self-aware; however this did not replicate with adults. Implications and directions for future research are discussed.