MRI Lie Detectors
Long and interesting article on fMRI lie detectors.
I was particularly struck by this paragraph, about why people are bad at detecting lies:
Maureen O'Sullivan, a deception researcher at the University of San Francisco, studies why humans are so bad at recognizing lies. Many people, she says, base assessments of truthfulness on irrelevant factors, such as personality or appearance. "Baby-faced, non-weird, and extroverted people are more likely to be judged truthful," she says. (Maybe this explains my trust in Steve Glass.) People are also blinkered by the "truthfulness bias": the vast majority of questions we ask of other people -- the time, the price off the breakfast special -- are answered honestly, and truth is therefore our default expectation. Then, there's the "learning-curve problem." We don't have a refined idea of what a successful lie looks and sounds like, since we almost never receive feedback on the fibs that we've been told; the co-worker who, at the corporate retreat, assured you that she loved your presentation doesn't usually reveal later that she hated it. As O'Sullivan puts it, "By definition, the most convincing lies go undetected."
EDITED TO ADD (8/28): The New York Times has an article on the topic.
Posted on July 25, 2007 at 6:26 AM • 28 Comments