The Pinocchio Effect

Some people say the mission of scientific inquiry helps to uncover truths about our world.

Well, science also helps us to tell who is being truthful, and who might be hiding a thing or two. We’ve all known about the existence of conventional lie detectors (aka polygraph tests) but a recent study by researchers at The University of Granada have uncovered a more novel, and perhaps reliable, way of indicating when someone is lying using thermography.

When we lie about our feelings, the temperature around our nose raises and a brain element called “insula” is activated. The insula is a component of the brain reward system, and it only activates when we experience real feelings (called “qualias”). The insula is involved in the detection and regulation of body temperature. Therefore, there is a strong negative correlation between insula activity and temperature increase: the more active the insule (the greater the feeling) the lower the temperature change, and vice versa, the researchers state.

So will this really have practical application for security and enforcement agencies in future?


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