If you want to know if someone is lying, try tapping into your subconscious. That’s the conclusion of a new study by University of California, Berkeley, researchers trying to discern why human powers of lie detection appear to be worse than those of other primates like monkeys and chimpanzees.(click below to read more)
The disparity in skills defies evolutionary logic, and scientists theorized that people’s instincts are overridden by false beliefs about what constitutes dishonest behavior—like fidgeting or a shifting gaze. To test the hypothesis, 72 volunteer students watched videos of 12 people denying they stole $100 (only half of them were telling the truth). Less than 44 percent correctly identified the thieves. The subjects then took an “implicit association test,” designed to measure unconscious associations made between people, objects, and ideas. Students more accurately linked the liars to words like “deceitful,” and the truth-tellers to words like “honest.” This suggests that seeing someone lie instinctively triggers “concepts associated with deception.” The study, in Psychological Science, also noted that women showed “significantly greater indirect accuracy” than men, supporting previous findings on the powers of female perception.