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Clues Suggesting People's Lie May Be Deceptive

Liars are skilled at suppressing these signals to avoid detection.


Updated:October 14, 2018, 5:06 PM IST
Clues Suggesting People's Lie May Be Deceptive
Liars are skilled at suppressing these signals to avoid detection.
The verbal and physical signs of lying could be harder to detect than people believe, a study suggests.

The study, led by researchers from the University of Edinburgh in the UK, will help understand the psychological dynamics that shape deception.

Tests reveal that people are skilled at identifying commonly displayed cues — such as hesitations and hand gestures — but these signs are produced more often when someone is telling the truth.

Liars are also skilled at suppressing these signals to avoid detection, the study published in the Journal of Cognition suggested.

Psychologists used an interactive game to assess the types of speech and gestures speakers produce when lying, and which clues listeners interpret as evidence that a statement is false.

"The findings suggest that we have strong preconceptions about the behaviour associated with lying, which we act on almost instinctively when listening to others," said lead researcher Martin Corley, from the varsity.

"However, we don't necessarily produce these cues when we're lying, perhaps because we try to suppress them," Corley added.

Researcher created a computerised two-player game in which 24 pairs of players hunted for treasure. Players were free to lie at will.

The team then coded more than 1,100 utterances produced by speakers against 19 potential cues to lying — such as pauses in speech, changes in speech rate, shifts in eye gaze and eyebrow movements.

The cues were analysed to see which ones listeners identified, and which cues were more likely to be produced when telling an untruth.

The team found listeners were efficient at identifying these common signs.

Listeners make judgements on whether something is true within a few hundred milliseconds of encountering a cue.

However, they found that the common cues associated with lying were more likely to be used if the speaker is telling the truth.

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| Edited by: Naqshib Nisar
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