MRIs for Lie Detection

An interesting-to-me article from Nature, as summarized in Newsday, shows that research subjects asked to lie exhibit a telltale MRI signature. Lying, it turns out, is harder than telling the truth: Study: Your brain can’t handle the lies.

I liked this part:

Testing an act of deception is tricky, [Dr. Daniel Langleben, an assistant professor of psychiatry] added. His first study involved instructing participants to lie. But he realized he needed to create a test that added secrecy to the mix. “Otherwise it’s more like theater than deception,” he explained.

In his latest study, two playing cards were given to volunteers and Langleben told them to pick one and offered them money to deny having it once inside the scanner. Moments later, the scientist hooking them up to the scanner told them to tell the truth. Then, the volunteer, choosing between conflicting instructions, answered questions about the cards while brain activity was recorded.

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