Science & Tech

Scientists have discovered a simple method for spotting a liar

Scientists have discovered a simple method for spotting a liar

Experts have identified a method to help spot when someone is lying and it’s surprisingly simple.

From criminals and romantic partners to politicians, many people lie in order to benefit themselves, with one study finding that dishonesty might help politicians survive in office.

However, new research has now found that by simply asking a suspect to perform an additional task while being questioned, it is easier to accurately find out who is lying.

Being deceitful puts more strain on the brain and requires more energy to do it successfully. With that in mind, experts discovered that by performing a second task while lying, it becomes more difficult to come up with and maintain a lie convincingly, making it easier to detect dishonesty.

The discovery was made by experts at the University of Portsmouth and their study was published in the International Journal of Psychology & Behavior Analysis.

As part of the study, 164 people were asked about their level of support for controversial topics in the news at the time such as Covid passports, immigration, Brexit and Boris Johnson.

They were then asked to either lie or tell the truth again about the same issues. Some were also given the task of remembering a car registration that they were told was extremely important.

The results found that the stories of the liars were deemed less plausible than the truth-tellers', and this was particularly the case when the liars also had the secondary task to focus on.

Professor Aldert Vrij, one of the study’s authors, explained: “The pattern of results suggests that the introduction of secondary tasks in an interview could facilitate lie detection but such tasks need to be introduced carefully.”

He continued: “It seems that a secondary task will only be effective if lie tellers do not neglect it. This can be achieved by either telling interviewees that the secondary task is important, as demonstrated in this experiment, or by introducing a secondary task that cannot be neglected (such as gripping an object, holding an object into the air, or driving a car simulator). Secondary tasks that do not fulfil these criteria are unlikely to facilitate lie detection.”

HT: IFL Science

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