Study Says You Can Catch a Liar By Giving Them A Secondary Task To Complete

Are you trying to catch a liar? According to recent research, having the suspect complete several activities simultaneously could aid in revealing the truth. Researchers at the University of Portsmouth found that lying was more obvious when the interviewer had to multitask.

Lying needs more mental effort than telling the truth 

According to earlier scientific investigations, lying needs more mental effort than stating the truth. The authors of the study made the decision to leverage this by having interview subjects complete a separate, unrelated activity. Indeed, this method made it simpler to identify people who were lying for real.

The authors of the study hypothesize that keeping the lie during an interview was made more difficult by the additional brain power required to complete the secondary task, which had nothing to do with the lie.

Most precisely, recalling a seven-digit car reg number was an additional task that participants had to complete throughout the interview. It’s interesting to note that the secondary activity only succeeded in catching the liars if the researchers stressed how crucial this issue was. 

The designer of the study Professor Aldert Vrij, stated in a release, “In the last 15 years we have shown that lies can be detected by outsmarting lie tellers. We demonstrated that this can be done by forcing lie tellers to divide their attention between formulating a statement and a secondary task.”

Someone can tell a lie convincingly at given time

According to the study, both the truth and a lie can seem convincing if the person telling a lie is given enough time to consider their words. Truths frequently sound more convincing than lies when one has less time to think. In the experiment, lies seemed less convincing than facts, especially whenever the interviewees also needed to complete a secondary activity and were informed that this task was crucial.

The pattern of findings indicates that adding additional activities to an interview may help with lie detection, but these tasks must be introduced judiciously. A secondary task appears to only be successful if liars do not ignore it.

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