When Pinocchio's nose does not grow: belief regarding lie-detectability modulates production of deception

Department of Aesthetics and Communication - Linguistics, Aarhus University Aarhus, Denmark
Frontiers in Human Neuroscience (Impact Factor: 3.63). 02/2013; 7:16. DOI: 10.3389/fnhum.2013.00016
Source: PubMed


Does the brain activity underlying the production of deception differ depending on whether or not one believes their deception can be detected? To address this question, we had participants commit a mock theft in a laboratory setting, and then interrogated them while they underwent functional MRI (fMRI) scanning. Crucially, during some parts of the interrogation participants believed a lie-detector was activated, whereas in other parts they were told it was switched-off. We were thus able to examine the neural activity associated with the contrast between producing true vs. false claims, as well as the independent contrast between believing that deception could and could not be detected. We found increased activation in the right amygdala and inferior frontal gyrus (IFG), as well as the left posterior cingulate cortex (PCC), during the production of false (compared to true) claims. Importantly, there was a significant interaction between the effects of deception and belief in the left temporal pole and right hippocampus/parahippocampal gyrus, where activity increased during the production of deception when participants believed their false claims could be detected, but not when they believed the lie-detector was switched-off. As these regions are associated with binding socially complex perceptual input and memory retrieval, we conclude that producing deceptive behavior in a context in which one believes this deception can be detected is associated with a cognitively taxing effort to reconcile contradictions between one's actions and recollections.

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    • "Furthermore, personal and cultural norms play a role in definitions of truth: valances attached to being honest are very different for different people and in different social situations (Bok, 1999; Zahedi, 2011). Thus, not only the definition of what a truth is, but also the experience of being asked to tell the truth, as well as the cognitive load of that telling, are very often mediated by social contexts: in short, humans assess complex social situations when faced with telling the truth (Sip et al., 2013). However, despite this social contingency, cognitive neuroscience studies often consider " truth " to be a clearly defined control condition. "
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    ABSTRACT: "Truth" has been used as a baseline condition in several functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies of deception. However, like deception, telling the truth is an inherently social construct, which requires consideration of another person's mental state, a phenomenon known as Theory of Mind. Using a novel ecological paradigm, we examined blood oxygenation level dependent (BOLD) responses during social and simple truth telling. Participants (n = 27) were randomly divided into two competing teams. Post-competition, each participant was scanned while evaluating performances from in-group and out-group members. Participants were asked to be honest and were told that their evaluations would be made public. We found increased BOLD responses in the medial prefrontal cortex, bilateral anterior insula and precuneus when participants were asked to tell social truths compared to simple truths about another person. At the behavioral level, participants were slower at responding to social compared to simple questions about another person. These findings suggest that telling the truth is a nuanced cognitive operation that is dependent on the degree of mentalizing. Importantly, we show that the cortical regions engaged by truth telling show a distinct pattern when the task requires social reasoning.
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    • "Wilson and Sperber (2002) talk about deceivers' linguistic style across entire statements are adaptable to this end. Sip et al. (2013) talk about changes in deception activities when the speaker believes their lies can be detected. This manifests in those intending or aiming to successfully and eectively deceive the listener by hiding lies amongst truthful utterances and irrelevant information (Anolli et al., 2002). "
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    ABSTRACT: Using UK police interviews as data, this empirical work seeks to explore and explain the interactional phenomena that accompany, distinguish, and are drawn upon by suspects in performing deceptive talk. It explores the effects of the myriad and often conflicting interactional requirements of turntaking, preference organisation and conversational maxims on the suspect’s talk, alongside the practical interactional choices of a suspect attempting to avoid revealing his guilt. This paper reveals a close link between the officer’s and suspect’s interaction and the patterned organisation of an assortment of divergent utterances produced in response to probing questions that follow a lie. The findings expose a hierarchical interactional order that explains the diverse and conflicting accounts of cues to deception in this field, suggesting that interactional phenomena are systematically enlisted in the orientating to, and the violation of interactional organisation which enables the suspect to produce utterances that protect his position, and can also be directed towards the performance of wider objectives such as reinforcing a claim of innocence or supporting a version of events.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2014
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    • "However, it cannot be generalized from these results that merely emphasizing that an examination aims at detecting deception necessarily reduces lie detection efficacy. By contrast, a study using a variant of the differentiationof-deception paradigm in conjunction with functional magnetic resonance imaging revealed larger differences between deceptive and truthful answers in the neural activation of different brain areas when participants believed that a lie-detector was activated (Sip et al., 2013). In line with the majority of neuroimaging studies in this domain (Gamer, 2011), activity in the right inferior frontal gyrus was also modulated by deception. "

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