Science of detecting lies not reliable: Journal
After decades of accepted methods for detecting lies, a researcher may challenge those tactics.
Sydney: Think you can tell when people are lying? After decades of accepted methods for detecting lies, a researcher may have a case for challenging those tactics.
Edward Reynolds from the University of Queensland spent hours studying footage from popular TV programs, "Cops" and "The Jeremy Kyle Show", looking for instances where a lie and an admission were both on tape.
Historically, experts have used speech tempos to determine lying and suggested long pauses between questions and answers imply responders may be telling a lie.
Reynolds found regular gaps in respondent answers occurred equally in both lies and non-lie replies, reports the British Journal of Social Psychology.
"Silence is used in talk for a range of interaction functions and is not just a cue that could indicate deception," he said, according to a Queensland release.
In the past, psychologists have used participants in controlled experiments whereas Reynolds observed TV guests in a natural setting, using the sociological mode of "conversation analysis" to analyse the lies similar to an anthropologist.
"I was actually expecting to find some evidence of any sort of `cue to deception` in my data. When I found none, I was surprised," Reynolds said. The research highlights the need to analyse lies in the context they are told.
"For professionals who need to detect lying, this research means they should pay more attention to what they already know about the person rather than cues," he said. For those trying to detect fibbers, Reynolds said trusting your instincts is always a good move.
"If there is something odd in the way someone talks, use your own social skills to work it out. Hi-tech science can`t do any better than `natural` ways to detect lies," Reynolds added.