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Can Our Eyes Really Reveal Whether We Are Lying?



Many psychologists would have you believe that the telltale sign someone was fibbing would arrive when they looked at certain angles. However, recent research may have disproved this theory’s credibility. Eyes are notoriously exposing of our body’s inner thoughts and emotions. Still, the particular notion that our eye movements could explicitly determine whether someone is telling the truth may now be considered a myth.

Police Interviews

Many a police interview in the past will have been conducted based partly on the premise that if a suspected criminal or witness looked in a specific direction after being asked a question or during their dialogue, that they were lying about the information they were about to give. The common consensus was that depending on which was your dominant hand, the eye would naturally veer upwards to the left or right, thereby imagining a past event rather than looking in the opposing direction, which was thought to signal a recall of a memory which genuinely occurred.

Extensive Research Into the Correlation of Truth with Eye Movement

Recent extensive video testing conducted under the guidance of Professor Richard Wiseman at Hertfordshire University, and simultaneously Dr. Caroline Watt, of the University of Edinburgh, has provided a significant amount of proof to dispel the long-held myth of the link between eye movements and whether someone is telling the truth or otherwise.

To disprove this theory, a group of volunteers were filmed in a series of interviews with pre-empted scenarios varying from a lie to a true story. A second group was asked to watch the films back to decipher whether eye movements could reveal whether someone was telling a lie or otherwise.

The results indicated that there was no direct correlation between eye movement and someone lying, with other deception cues such as the individual way people interact with others, staying still, reducing the use of the first person, touching their mouths, or how hesitation and significant deliberation can arguably be more telling of someone dodging an awkward questioning process.

As if to confirm this, the researchers in question conducted a follow-up exercise that involved interesting analysis of police press conferences in which supposed victims of crime were appealing for help, in which some of them turned out to be lying. The correlation levels again pointed to the fact that eye movement has no direct relationship with truth levels.

Impressive Results Which Could Affect Many Industries

The findings point to a complex deliberation for future areas in terms of types of employment that rely heavily on eye movements to help carry out their work, such as the police force, or neuro-linguistic programming courses which teach those from various fields of the intricacies of human body language and in particular how eye movement played a predominant role in psychological thought.