The Subconscious Mind Is Super Lie Detector

Posted on April 5, 2014

Human beings are abysmal at detecting lies consciously, but their subconscious mind may have a better nose for deceit, new research suggests.

"If I give you ten videos where five people are lying and five people are telling the truth, I can predict that you and everybody else is going to perform at 50 percent," said study co-author Leanne ten Brinke, a social psychologist at the University of California at Berkeley. "It's just as accurate as flipping a coin."

That made ten Brinke and colleagues Dana Carney and Dayna Stimson, who are both at the University of California at Berkeley, wonder whether people can subconsciously sniff out deceit.

To find out, they asked one group of college students to come into an empty room and either steal, or not take, $100 that had been stashed inside books in the room. The researchers then instructed the participants to say they knew nothing about the money when questioned by an experimenter, essentially getting half the participants to lie. (Students were told they could keep the money if they managed to convince the experimenters of their truthfulness.)

They then asked a group of 72 students to detect the liars versus the truth-tellers.

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Source material from Live Science

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