Loading...
The Daily Dose Blog The Daily Dose Blog Home

A real ‘Pinocchio effect’ to reveal liars

The nose knows.

By Rich_Maloof Dec 4, 2012 5:14PM

As a professional interrogator or pretty much anybody from the cast of Law & Order will tell you, there are no universal signs for spotting a liar. Every liar lies a little differently.

Despite the armchair psychology, crossing one’s arms, avoiding direct eye contact, and other nonverbal cues aren’t necessarily signs that a deception is in the works.

Photo: Giorgio Majno/Getty ImagesMore on MSN Living: Best sweater for your body type

Even polygraphs and other tests that look for physical indications — spikes in heart rate, fluctuations in breathing, a twitching eye — are based on deviations from a person’s usual patterns rather than on any standard that applies to all humanoids. That’s why, when administering lie-detector tests, the administrator first establishes a baseline and then looks for a change. They read your normal numbers with questions like “Where do you live?” or “Do you have any pets?” and then it’s straight on to “Did you throw your sleeping grandmother out that window?”

Researchers from the University of Granada in Spain may be on to a new method of lie detection, and it comes awfully close to the famous tale about the boy made of wood.

More on MSN Living: 10 habits that keep marriages strong

In Disney’s re-telling of Carlo Collodi’s The Adventures of Pinocchio, every time the wooden puppet tells a lie (spoiler alert!) his nose grows like a tree branch filmed in time-lapse. Why was that a good metaphor for lying, anyway? As another character in the story reveals, “a lie will keep growing and growing until it’s as plain as the nose on your face.”

The Granada study — which is part of a doctoral thesis, and not yet peer-reviewed — finds that instead of getting longer when we lie, a person’s nose gets warmer. They’ve informally dubbed it “the Pinnochio effect” (though “the Rudolph effect” seems like a strong contender).

Using thermography to reveal temperatures across the topography of a subject’s face, the pyschology researchers saw that temperatures rose around the nose and inner corner of the eye when subjects lied. Their hypothesis is that the response may be based on functions of the insula (or insular cortex), a region of the brain involved in regulating body temperature and also in self-awareness and conflicting emotions.

Neurologists have also identified the insula as a part of the brain that registers disbelief. So if your own nose is heating up right now, it could be that you think the whole theory just smells a little off. Or you could be lying to yourself.

Photo: Giorgio Majno/Getty Images

Bing: How to spot a liar.
More from MSN Living:
Worst cringe-worthy style & beauty fashions of 2012
The best beauty and style looks of the year
Marriage counselors: The trickiest issues we've ever solved

Subscribe to the Daily Dose

0Comments

inspire: live a better life

  • Off-season vacation destinations

    The 10 best off-season vacation deals in the world

    Summer and winter tend to hog all the glory when it comes to travel high seasons. Sure, you want to soak up all the time at the beach you can during the summer, and you just want to escape the cold during the last months of the year.

  • Best places for fall foliage

    The 16 best places to see fall foliage

    Who just wants to stand around and watch the red and gold leaves slowly fall from their tree branches to the ground as we move from summer to fall? Instead, take in the changing seasons while you're on the move.

  • 30 things you learn in your 30s

    30 things that will (probably) happen in your 30s

    In September, I'll turn 38. I'm at the age now where, when people ask how old I am, it takes me a minute to remember. I don't know if that's because I've already been 37 different ages and it's hard to keep straight which one I am now, or if it's because I'm in denial, or if it's because I am going senile. Maybe a combination of all of the above. Regardless, my 30s have flown by and soon they will be but a memory. So, in an effort to preserve the memory I have left (or at least keep a record of it), and to celebrate what has been an amazing decade so far, here are 30 things that have happened to me in my 30s (and will probably happen to you too):

  • Great travel tech gadgets

    The 8 best travel tech accessories for every trip

    Traveling doesn't have to be stressful. And what you can fit in your carry-on can make all the difference (and not just a fresh pair of socks), especially when you get that low battery signal.

  • The Science

    5 surprising ways to live longer

    Volunteering (and these other rituals) might be just as good as exercise when it comes to extending your life.

  • Don’t hit snooze

    7 cures for a case of the Mondays

    Use these tricks to set a better tone for the rest of the week.

  • King's Night: Amsterdam, Holland

    The 10 wildest celebrations in the world

    Whether it involves a food fight, mermaids or a torch-lit procession, people the world over know how to have a good time. Here are some of the biggest, boldest, booziest celebrations around, along with some tips to get the full experience.

  • green brain image (Courtesy of Newser)

    Scientists turn bad memories to happy ones

    Research could mean more effective treatment for human disorders.

  • Cultura\Getty Images(Cultura\Getty Images)

    4 reasons journaling is good for you

    An entry a day might keep the doctor away (or at least the shrink).

  • Getty Images(Getty Images)

    Appreciating the Small Things in Life

    One woman's shout-outs to daily moments of joy — and how to cultivate them.

  • Woman jogging (Photo: Huffington Post)
  • Getty Images // Magazine

    Little ways to feel healthier and happier

    Our best health and fitness tips including the one move that tones all, berry news, and more.

Loading...
about rich maloof
Loading...
buzzing now on msn living
Loading...
inspire videos
editor's picks
Loading...