Tuesday, June 19, 2007

It's Harder to Tell a Lie Backwards

By Michael Horsnell
Source: Times Online

Gene Hunt, the copper from the TV series Life on Mars who batters crooks into submission in the interview room, may not approve. But a cunning new method of dragging the truth from criminals may be on the horizon, thanks to research by university psychologists.

Researchers from the University of Portsmouth claim that the best way to spot a lie is to make the suspect repeat his or her version of events in reverse order.

In a £136,000 project, the researchers worked on the theory that it takes more effort to make up a story than it does to tell the truth. A subject asked to repeat a concocted series of events in reverse order would be under too much of a strain, they claimed, and would make mistakes.

Detectives use many psychological tricks to trip up liars. These betray obvious signals from shifting uncomfortably in a seat, through stumbling over words to failing to make eye contact.


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