Thanks to Dr. Deb for highlighting two interesting psychology research studies which offer new insight into lie detection. The first was conducted at my undergraduate alma mater, Dalhousie University, in Nova Scotia. After analyzing 697 videos of people reacting to emotion-evoking photos, researchers concluded that study subjects who tried to modify the natural response to a cute or alarming photo still retained flickers of the real emotion in their facial expressions. These “microexpressions” were identifiable by computer analysis of facial muscles, and may support the development of a new type of lie detector – a digital, facial expression analyzer.
The second research study found that people are less accurate in recounting false stories backwards than they are at describing a reverse chronology of true events. In other words, discerning truth from error may be as simple as asking someone to tell you what happened beginning at the end and working backwards. If they have a really difficult time keeping the facts straight – they are more likely be falsifying the information.
I don’t know if either of these lie detecting approaches (analyzing microexpressions or backwards story telling) will work on sociopaths and exceptionally good liars. But for the garden-variety fibber, they may just work.This post originally appeared on Dr. Val’s blog at RevolutionHealth.com.