It’s All Been a Pack of…Well, Lies

It's all been a pack of...well lies

Lie – (of a person or animal) be in or assume a horizontal or resting position on a supporting surface. Or, to tell a fib—a false statement made with deliberate intent to deceive—that even your own dear, sweet mama wouldn’t believe. And it is the latter that detectives often must wade through (a pack of lies) before a bad guy finally confesses to his crimes.

We all know the days of using hot, bright lights and rubber hoses are tactics long ago replaced by polygraphs and reading body language. However, there’s a new method of lie-detecting that’s raising a few inquisitive eyebrows.

Scientists have developed a lie-detecting software that’s based on actual data and media videos of real court cases, including videos recorded by The Innocence Project. The software was “trained” using 120 video media recordings of real courtroom interactions/actions of defendants.

Unlike a polygraph, this technique of reaching the truth does not involve touching the subject. Instead, to reach its conclusions, the software considers a person’s gestures and voice to identify deceptions. So far, the software boasts an accuracy rate of 75%. Now, that percentage doesn’t sound so hot until the number is compared to the 50% accuracy rate achieved by human scoring, which is basically not much more accurate than a “heads-or-tails” guess.

Some of the more telling gestures picked up by the software include:

– hand gestures (liars tend to move their hands more).

– liars tend to make exaggerated efforts to try to sound more certain than do people who’re telling the truth.

– liars make an effort to look their questioners in the eye (70% of liars as opposed to 60% of truth-tellers).

– scowling or grimacing (the entire face) – 30% of liars as opposed to 10% of truth-tellers.

– liars distance themselves from the crime by using words such as “he” or “she” or “them,” as opposed to “I” or “we.”

– liars tend to use vocal space fillers, such as “um.”

– liars tend to use both hands when gesturing.

In addition, a coding system was devised to score nine different motions of the head, eyes, brow, mouth and hands.

This new system of lie-detecting is a prototype, but it does look promising.

My questions for you are…

Did I just lie to you? Is this new system the real deal or is it…um…something I concocted merely to fill…um…this space?


“I’ve seen your face before my friend
But I don’t know if you know who I am
Well, I was there and I saw what you did
I saw it with my own two eyes
So you can wipe off that grin,
I know where you’ve been
It’s all been a pack of lies.”

Phil Collins – In the Air Tonight

*Photo credit – Dennis Yang, San Francisco, Ca./Wikimedia Commons