Separating wheat of truth from chaff of lies not easy

Thursday, February 17, 2011

LONDON - The behavioural difference between liars and truth-tellers is thin. Is there a way to separate the wheat of truth from a chaff of lies?

A new report discusses some of the common misconceptions about liars, reviews the limitations of lie-detection, and presents new methods for identifying liars with greater accuracy.

Besides, some people are just very good at lying, the journal Psychological Science reports.

Lie-detectors routinely make the common mistakes of overemphasizing non-verbal cues, neglecting intrapersonal variations (how a person acts when telling the truth versus when he is lying), and being overly confident in their lie-detection skills, according to a Portsmouth University statement.

Aldert Vrij, Anders Granhag and Stephen Porter of the Universities of Portsmouth in the UK, Gothenburg in Sweden and British Columbia in Canada, respectively, reviewed the research suggesting that verbal methods are more effective than non-verbal methods in detecting of deception.

And that there are psychological differences between liars and truth-tellers that can be exploited in the search for the truth.

Lying can be more cognitively demanding than truth-telling, it requires more brain power to come up with a lie and keep track of it (e.g., who was told what) than it does to tell the truth.

This research has important implications in a variety of settings, including the courtroom, police interviews, and screening individuals with criminal intent, for instance, identifying potential terrorists.

Filed under: Science and Technology

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