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To Catch a Liar

With the difficulty in determining who is lying and who is not, police and other law enforcement organizations have tried to find reliable scientific methods to detect liars. Here are some examples:    

The Polygraph Test

This machine was first developed by the police in the 1930s to try to detect if suspected criminals were lying. The process involved attaching tubes, cuffs, and metal plates to the persons body to measure changes in respiration and blood pressure. And though some experts have suggested that polygraphs today have an accuracy of at least 96 percent, others suggest that the nervousness and fear that a person experiences when hooked up to the machine produce symptoms similar to those of lying. Those people consider the results of the polygraph test to be unreliable.

Thermal Imaging

Thermal imaging technology is based on the concept that, when a person is lying, blood flow increases around the eyes. First developed to identify terrorists at airports, the accuracy of the machine has been brought into question, since flying can make many people nervous and produce physical symptoms similar to those of lying.

Brain Fingerprinting

Another recent lie-detecting technology, brain fingerprinting, involves putting a helmet with various electrodes on a person's head to measure certain brain waves that show whether an alleged criminal is familiar with certain objects, like a gun used in a robbery. This technology, however, cannot distinguish between the criminal and someone who just observed the crime taking place.

Detecting Lies - Keep it Simple!

Even though people and machines are not very well-equipped to detect whether someone is lying, scientific experts suggest that focusing on three areas can help you improve your odds of detecting a lie:

- Speech patterns
- Facial expressions
- Body movements

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