I’m often asked how to detect lies when you can’t see someone. So much business is done over the phone and online that body language can be impossible to detect…or is it?
On the phone lie detection can be easier to detect than you think. Changes in a person’s pace of speech and tone when sensitive topics arise are a dead giveaway that someone’s pants may be on fire. These are signs of stress and are often, but not always connected to deception. No matter if you’re on the phone or in person, quickly assessing someone’s baseline pace and tone will give you all the info you need. This is the top characteristic that law enforcement watches to uncover the truth.
But what about online? You can’t see or hear anyone there, right? Up to now the answer has been yes. But things are changing. I just ran across a new study done by researchers in Italy who proved that people use their computer mouse in different patterns when answering questions about their identity falsely.
It was easy for people to memorize fake information and answer questions about it. But, “when the researchers included features of the mouse paths—such as deviation from a straight line—in their training materials, computers were able to successfully pick out the liars 90% to 95% of the time,
But would such a method work in the real world? Giuseppe Sartori, a forensic neuroscientist at the University of Padua in Italy and an author of the paper, says it could be used as a “first screen” to check people’s alibis in criminal investigations, verify identities online, or even cull terrorists from refugees at border checkpoints. It likely won’t have the same accuracy it does in the lab, but he calls the study a good “proof of concept.”
How long will it be before our computer mice are embedded with tracking programs? My bet is sooner than you think. This just shows that there indeed is body language that reveals truth and lies online.
Want to know more? Here are links to resources: