Body language denounces liars

Dutch scientists found that liars often mimic the body language of the person they are talking to.

In the scientific article “Liars and imitators” published in the magazine Royal Socielty Open Science January 2021, the group of authors from the University of Rotterdam (Netherlands) said that they surveyed 50 university students before making the findings.

Specifically, 50 students were asked to solve a puzzle. Each player is only given five minutes while the game is difficult and time-consuming. Sophie Van Der Zee, the lead researcher, pretended to accidentally reveal the answer but was actually “encouraging students to cheat” on the condition that they were not disclosed to supervisors.

At the end of the five minutes, the students stopped their hands and talked about the game. Through sensors, the authors found that the liar moves exactly the same as the person they are talking to and the truth-teller has completely different behavior with the other person.

Illustration: Association for Psychological Science.

Van Der Zee believes that when lying, the mind must work more focused than usual to hide dishonesty, so people inadvertently mimic other people’s body language to save energy.

The group of scientists admitted that the research is still limited and cannot rule out the possibility that the truth-teller also mimics the liar’s movements. However, they said the finding could be applied to the field of criminal science.

Thu Nguyet (According to the New Scientist)


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