Psychological science | 25 Mar 2014
L Ten Brinke, D Stimson and DR Carney
To maximize survival and reproductive success, primates evolved the tendency to tell lies and the ability to accurately detect them. Despite the obvious advantage of detecting lies accurately, conscious judgments of veracity are only slightly more accurate than chance. However, findings in forensic psychology, neuroscience, and primatology suggest that lies can be accurately detected when less-conscious mental processes (as opposed to more-conscious mental processes) are used. We predicted that observing someone tell a lie would automatically activate cognitive concepts associated with deception, and observing someone tell the truth would activate concepts associated with truth. In two experiments, we demonstrated that indirect measures of deception detection are significantly more accurate than direct measures. These findings provide a new lens through which to reconsider old questions and approach new investigations of human lie detection.
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