Friday, 26 August 2016

How Liars are spotted

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Anyone who has lived in a shared house will know the annoyance of coming home to find someone has eaten the food in the fridge you have been thinking about all day.
But working out who the culprit is can be difficult, especially when quizzing people individually.
New research according to dailymail suggests a better strategy may be to call a house meeting as it is easier to spot a liar when questioning a group of people collectively. 

While memory is usually individual, a group will also have a collective memory of a shared event.
For example, as a group tells the story of an experience, members will interrupt each other, ask others for clarification, and help each other remember.

The dynamic process is often absent in a lying group, where people can memorise a 'script' to make their individual stories consistent.
In police investigations, for example, consistency is vital part of working out what facts are true and which are not.

However, people who have memorised a story and prepared for their interview can fairly easily get away with lying, by making sure their own story matches those of other suspects.
This means that consistency cannot always be used as the main marker of truth.

The researchers suggest that rather than interviewing criminals separately, it may be more effective to perform collective interviews, where it is easier to spot if they are sticking to a script. 
Previous studies have suggested that there are three keys to spotting a liar.  

Firstly, you need a baseline sense of what they are like when their guard is down, to track changes from. 
Next, verbal changes, such as declining to answer, or changing the subject can be an indication of a liar. 

Finally, non-verbal changes, such as a fake smiles, are often used by liars.  
Dr Zarah Vernham, lead author of the study at the University of Portsmouth, said: 'My interest into group deception developed as a result of my interest in collaborative memory, group dynamics and deception detection.

'In particular, I am interested in collective interviewing and the novels cues to deceit that emerge from such a technique.'

Dr Vernham's review of past studies revealed only one third examined participants collectively.
In most studies, participants were interviewed separately.

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