Lying is a topic that scientists have been involved in for a long time. We all do. A white lie can help you even further. “Gosh, what do you have nice shoes”. Not intended perhaps, but still useful to make a positive impression on someone. In children, lying is even healthy. Healthy? Yes, because this indicates that they can move in what another person thinks. This is called Theory of Mind. For example, autistic children sometimes find it more difficult to lie.
Researchers want to find out how and why people lie. This knowledge can ultimately be useful for police research. In research, different technologies are used to find out if someone is lying or not.
Especially the face would be a good traitor and a lie. Different techniques are used to see very subtle and minor changes in mouth, nose or eyes. A computer can recognize emotions in the face. This is the emotion expression recognition toolbox. Eyetracking is also often used in research into lying behavior. With this, ooge movements can be accurately measured. Researchers disagree about the precise cues for lying. However, it seems that people who lie make more eye contact than people who do not lie. Laughter in a different way and more subtle changes in the face.
Brain Research (EEG)
Another way to expose the Pinocchio is brain research. Neuroscientists did a remarkable discovery, which they called “brain fingerprinting”. If you hear familiar information, there would be a wave of activity going through your brain. This happens after 300 milliseconds. This can be measured with EEG. Nevertheless, you can not necessarily know for sure if someone is lying. In an extreme case: Someone can recognize a saw as a murder weapon, but also because he happens to be a handyman.
Traditional lie detector
And what about that device that you often see in movies? Such a device measures physical reactions to questions that are asked. Breathing, sweat production and heart rate are measured with this. People who lie are expected to react more strongly to questions. However, this technique is controversial. In the Netherlands it is also not used for police investigations. And that is good, because there are a lot of factors that can make the lie detector less reliable, such as stress and anxiety.
All in all, lying behavior remains very vague and subjective. Everyone will lie in a different way. Researchers will never find the movement or change that betrays lying. But with computers that are getting better, certain cues are becoming more noticeable, which could have something to do with lying.