If You Want to Catch a Liar, Make Him Draw

high-angle shot; bird's eye view
Liars stumble when they can’t verbalize their lies: “…[S]ignificantly more truth tellers included the “agent” (other person in the situation) in their drawings than did liars (80% vs. 13%). In addition, significantly more truth tellers drew from a shoulder-camera view than liars, who by in large drew from an overhead view (53% vs. 19%). In verbal statements, more truth tellers also mentioned the agent than liars (53% vs. 19%).

Using the “sketching the agent” result alone, it was possible to identify 80% of the truth tellers and 87% of the liars–results superior to most traditional interview techniques.

The main reason drawing seems to be effective in identifying liars is that they have less time to work out the details. Someone who is telling the truth already has a visual image of where they were and what happened (even if it’s not perfect, which of course it never is), but liars have to manufacture the details. It’s easier to concoct something verbally than to first visualize and then create it on paper.” (Psychology Today)

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One comment

  1. Charles

    A 13% to 20% failure rate means a lot of people will be assumed to be lying when they are not; since law enforcement is more concerned with conviction rates than with justice, prosecutors won’t really care.

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