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Are You Lying? Researchers Say the Nose Knows

Published: February 25, 2013

We've heard about the "telltale" signs of lying: eyes darting to the left, sweaty palms, no eye contact, the ever-lengthening nose belonging to storybook character Pinocchio.

NoseBut is there some scientific way to find out when someone is lying?

According to researchers at the University of Granada in Spain, there is.

The scientists combined psychology and thermography to discover that when people lie they experience a slight increase in temperature in the area around the nose and near the orbital muscle located at the corner of the eye.

This may be hard to test without sophisticated instruments, so experts who use lie-detecting techniques in their jobs offer some simpler tips on how to spot the frequent fibber:
  • Assess their tone. If someone's tone changes from the way they normally speak (for example, their pitch rises), it could be a sign that they're lying.
  • Watch to see if the subject avoids the word "I." When people lie about themselves, they tend to use the words "I" and "me" less frequently. This helps keep them at a psychological distance from the lie.
  • Is the individual quick with an answer? When someone responds with no hesitation, the answer may have been rehearsed and the person lying.
  • Is the person fidgeting? Random physical actions could mean someone is lying, especially when the lie is directed toward someone he or she loves.

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