To Detect a Lie, Don’t Think About It

Research participants who did puzzles for 3 minutes after hearing a series of true and false statements were about 6 times better than other people at figuring out which of the statements had been lies, according to a team led by Marc-André Reinhard of the University of Mannheim in Germany. The finding suggests that unconscious thinking (like the kind you do when you’re working a puzzle) gives people a chance to integrate the rich, complex information needed for accurate lie detection, and it supports a theory that deception judgments are largely driven by intuitions that may be inaccessible to the conscious mind, the researchers say.

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