The authors interpret these findings in the context of narrative distancing: there is a greater distance between the self that narrates and the self who is the object of the narration in the intentional deception condition. On this view, narrators tend to describe their own past in the deception condition using Bruner’s (1986) “landscape of action” and not through the “landscape of consciousness.” The authors note that much research comparing intentionally deceptive as compared to non-deceptive narratives has found similar results but that their study is one of the few to treat autobiographical narratives, in which cognitive facility in handling pretense in the production of the deceptive narrative would be required. This would involve first imagining someone else doing something, then noting that it was not oneself who did it, then nevertheless identifying that act with the self for the purpose of producing the narrative. The authors add that this added cognitive complexity presents an alternative interpretation of their data and that this way of looking at the results might suggest that the narrative distancing explanation is an artifact of the cognitive exigencies of the task. Results are further qualified by the authors: absence of an authentic motivation for deception could alter the kinds of language used and the brevity of these narratives might not reveal non-sentential syntactical relationships among the elements of the narratives.
Bedwell, J. S., Gallagher, S., Whitten, S. N., & Fiore, S. M. (2011). Linguistic correlates of self in deceptive oral autobiographical narratives. Consciousness and Cognition, 20, 547-555.
Bruner, J. (1986). Actual minds, possible worlds. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.