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How You Can Tell If Somone Is Lying?

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

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2 Responses to “How You Can Tell If Somone Is Lying?”

  1. PearlsAndDreams says:

    I get frustrated with anything that uses facial expressions or body language to dectect the truth of what someone is saying. With myasthenia, my facial expressions aren’t always up to what I’m feeling, my eyes don’t always track together ..and I’m often supporting my head in odd positions …either so I don’t have to use my hand, or I’ve resorted to using my head in hand because the neck muscles have weakened.

    MG, MS, Lupus, ALS, many of the diseases covered by the 40 diseases covered by the MDA, Post polio … degenerative disk disease … there are many invisible diseases that effect why a person might be unable to make proper ‘body language’ or facial expressions to follow ‘appropriate’ body language for these studies.

    People get ahold of these studies and we, who are not the ‘norm’ get caught in the cross fire.

    It all comes down to a little bit of knowlege …

  2. edith piaf says:

    i agree with the person who addressed disabilities. i have mild CP and i also have eyes that wander due to surgery at birth due to ocular motor problem and i have slight tremors and minor inappropriate movements so this would not apply to me either. this test is bias towards the nondisabled and does not even take handicaps into consideration. scandaleux!!!

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