We’re All Liars… But How Fast Can You Tell?

We’re All Liars… But How Fast Can You Tell?

“Everybody lies”. Whether you have watched the popular TV show House, M.D. or not, this is a statement worth considering. From interrogations to fake news or plain white lies, deception permeates our everyday lives, and knowing when you’re being scammed is becoming increasingly difficult due to how quickly and voraciously we consume information. However, we are coming close to pinning down just how much time you really need to know you’re being deceived.

Can we instinctively detect lies or is rumination key for deception detection? That is what students at Maastricht University are trying to find out. Previous research has indicated that making intuitive decisions rather than deliberating improves deception detection performance. Deception detection involves many different cues and criminal research has even compiled extensive lists of what to look out for. But maybe we can analyze these cues more quickly than we previously thought – even cutting down investigation times. Our study is simple: have participants watch videos of people telling lies and truths and manipulate how much time they’re given to make their decision. We’re hoping that this added pressure will provide insight into our capacity for lie detection.

We’re often told to be wary of making “snap decisions”. But in a technological world where we’re constantly bombarded with information, we might not be able to afford losing any time. If our instincts are truly better than thinking it out, then we might just be able to defend ourselves from all the liars.

Research group 38

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