Date of Award

Summer 8-15-2018

Degree Type


Degree Name

MS Experimental Psychology




Marianne Lloyd, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Andrew Simon, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Jeremy Miller, Ph.D.


truthiness, truth bias, truth judgments, fluency, cognitive load, response time


Truthiness is used to describe a person’s instinctive and rapid judgment about the truth of a claim, with no regard to logic or fact. Recent research has shown that a photo can influence a person to believe a claim is true, even if the photo used is non-probative. This effect is hypothesized to occur because photographs make claims easier to process while also enabling one to retrieve related thoughts and images to mind, which can then be mistaken for familiarity and truth (Newman, Garry, Bernstein, Kantner, & Lindsay, 2012). Cognitive load and response time manipulation were factors that had not been investigated in the truthiness literature. The present study examined the effect photos have on truth ratings in relation to high cognitive load, fixed-time response, and the inclination to be an intuitive thinker. Results demonstrated that high cognitive load and fixed-time conditions do not increase truth ratings. However, participants did display the truthiness effect when they were asked to judge true claims paired with photos in a condition that did not contain a high cognitive load or fixed-time task manipulation. This effect was also apparent in participants who showed a predisposition for intuitive thinking.