(Time Healthland) Is That a Bluff? Looking for Lies in People’s Shifty Eyes
Can you tell when someone is lying by the way they shift their gaze? Many people think so, but researchers say there is no truth to the “lying eyes” theory
The commonly held theory is that when a person looks up to their right, they’re lying. If they look up to their left, they’re said to be telling the truth.
But in three separate experiments testing that theory, researchers from Edinburgh University and Hertfordshire University found no connection between eye movements and whether people were being truthful. “This is in line with findings from a considerable amount of previous work showing that facial clues (including eye movements) are poor indicators of deception,” wrote the authors of the study published in the journal PLoS ONE.
The authors attribute the popular wisdom about “lying eyes” to claims made by practitioners of neuro-linguistic programming (NLP). The therapy method, which attempts to improve people’s communication skills by teaching them about eye-movements and thought, says that when people look up to their right they are visualizing a “constructed” event, and when they look to the left, they’re visualizing an actual “remembered” memory.
The notion that “constructed” means “lie” became popular, despite the fact that there’s little scientific evidence to back up the claim.
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Also see Why Are The Rich Less Ethical?, Can You Pathologically Lie Your Way Into Harvard?, What is the “Illusion of Truth” Effect?, Are Trusting People Better Lie Detectors? and Did Denial Cause the Lehman Brothers Collapse?