To forget or to remember: Denial deflation effect and subjective confidence of autobiographical memories



The paper focuses on the problem of the long-lasting effect of deliberate lie on autobiographical memories, which seems to be of extreme importance for forensic psychology. Firstly, the literature on autobiographical memory’s malleability is reviewed in the context of legal issues. Then we present the empirical field study carried out to examine dynamics of confidence toward episodes of personal past after participants had been instructed a) to retell a false episode as true; b) to retell a false episode as false; c) to deny the reality of a true episode. We coined the main finding as “Denial deflation”. This effect exists in two forms. The first is forgetting of falsely denied true episode. The second is mistaken acceptance of truthfully denied false episode. Our findings indicate that the act of lying produces specific effect on memory performance both for intentional creation of false story and for intentional denial of true experience.

General Information

Keywords: autobiographical memory, lie, subjective confidence, autobiographical memory’s malleability

Journal rubric: Interdisciplinary Studies

Article type: scientific article


For citation: Nurkova V.V. To forget or to remember: Denial deflation effect and subjective confidence of autobiographical memories [Elektronnyi resurs]. Psikhologiya i pravo = Psychology and Law, 2015. Vol. 5, no. 2, pp. 126–137. DOI: 10.17759/psylaw.2015100210. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)


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Information About the Authors

Veronika V. Nurkova, Doctor of Psychology, Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, M. V. Lomonosov Moscow State University, Leading researcher at the School of Anthropology of the Future, Institute of Social Sciences of the Russian National Economy and Public Administration under the President of the Russian Federation (RANEPA), Associate Professor of the Faculty of the Effective Academy of Psychology, Moscow State University of Psychology and Education, Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:



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