Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor's Name

Stephen Charman

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Jacqueline Evans

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Third Advisor's Name

Ronald Fisher

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Fourth Advisor's Name

Amy Hyman Gregory

Fourth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member


Alibis, alibi generation, alibi discrimination, alibi accuracy, autobiographical memory

Date of Defense



The literature on the generation and evaluation of alibis reveals two main findings: (a) Innocent alibi providers are often inaccurate when reporting their alibis, and (b) people are poor at discriminating true from deceptive alibis. Across two experiments, this research adopted a system variables approach to addressing these two problems. Study 1 examined whether a theory-driven intervention involving preparation time with phone access would enhance the accuracy of innocent suspects’ alibis. Additionally, Study 1 explored cues to deception that could differentiate honest and deceptive alibi providers. Study 1 conformed to a 2 (Alibi Type: Honest, Deceptive) x 3 (Interview Approach: Preparation with Phone Access, Preparation Only, Control) mixed design. College students (N = 208) engaged in a virtual escape room activity at Time 1 and were asked to provide an honest and deceptive alibi. Study 1 results showed that innocent suspects were significantly more likely to generate an accurate alibi if they were allowed either preparation time only (32%), or preparation and phone access (51%), compared to control (16%). Speech duration emerged as the only significant deception cue: Deceptive alibi providers talked for significantly longer than truthful alibi providers. In Study 2, we examined whether Preparation with Phone Access and Preparation Only also improved evaluators’ abilities to discriminate honest from deceptive alibi providers. Study 2 conformed to a 3 (Alibi Type: Honest/accurate; Honest/mistaken; Deceptive) x 3 (Interview Approach: Preparation with Phone Access; Preparation Only, Control) mixed design. MTurk workers (N = 294) watched videos of honest/accurate, honest/mistaken, and deceptive alibi providers, and categorized them based on perceived veracity. Overall, classification accuracy was low (especially for honest/mistaken and deceptive alibi providers), and the Interview Approach at Study 1 did not influence Study 2 evaluators’ classification accuracy. My research provides support for the schema disconfirmation model, revealing two interventions that can enhance the accuracy of innocent suspects’ alibis without concomitantly increasing the believability of deceptive alibis. These results also provide the basis for a standardized procedure for the collection of alibi evidence.






Rights Statement

Rights Statement

In Copyright. URI:
This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).