According to a new research, one of the best ways to catch someone in a lie is to try and distract them while they''re not telling you the whole truth.
It appears that the additional cognitive effort required to construct a lie and do something else at the same time means the falsehood does not stand up quite as well.
There are a few flaws, however, for example, the lying person must consider the secondary task as important. Otherwise, the lying person will be able to prioritize the lie over whatever else it is that they''re supposed to be doing.
Researchers behind the new study suggest that interviews might be structured in a way that involves secondary tasks and therefore spot lies. However, they argue this isn''t a foolproof system, and that further work is required to fully comprehend how multitasking impedes conversation.
"Our research has shown that truths and lies can sound equally plausible as long as lie tellers have a good opportunity to think about what they do."
"When the ability to think diminishes, truths are often more plausible than lies."
"Lies sounded less plausible than truths in our experiment, mainly when the interviewees also had to complete a secondary task and were told that this task was critical."
Here''s how the experiment successfully concluded: 164 volunteers shared their opinions on societal topics in the news, then divided into two groups for mock interviews. They were then instructed to either inform the truth about their views or lie.
Two groups were divided into three categories. One-third were given a second task to do and told it was essential for them to complete the interview, one-third had also a second task, but no information about it, and the final third didn''t have a second task to worry about.
The following task involved putting down a seven-digit vehicle registration number that had previously been shown to the participant. At the end of each interview, the interviewer ranked what the participants had learned from in several areas, including the extent of their experience.
"In their published paper, the most common differences between truth tellers and lie tellers were found in plausibility, in instantacy, directness, and clarity. "
Although the differences between the groups were minimal, the results showed that the differences between the two groups were different. Using lies involves collecting information, trying to avoid becoming caught out by those fictitious statements, and keeping falsehoods as true as possible. All this can require a lot of experience.
For the best results in resolving out liars, the team believes that the secondary task should be seen as important or should be something that must be done holding on to something, for example, or perhaps working a simulator.
There will always be a variety of other factors to consider, particularly that some people are much better at lying than others. However, this is an interesting way of trying to show up lies when they''re being told one that does not require a special setup and which you may even try out yourself.
"The patterns of results suggest that the introduction of secondary tasks in an interview might facilite lying detection, but such tasks should be carefully introduced," according to Vrij.
The study has been published in the International Journal of Psychology & Behavior Analysis.