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Liar, Liar

We recently wrote about how your hair can act as a lie detector (and in a political season like this one, we hear a lot of lies). But other scientists say the old-fashioned method of lie detection is best: a liar's facial expressions will givehim away every time.

Three years ago, a man made a tearful public appeal for the return of his missing wife, but police soon learned that he had murdered her, when they found her body in a ditch on the outskirts of the city. When researcher Stephen Porter looked at the video of the husband?s appeal, he spotted the lie immediately?his face gave him away.

Porter says a person's face will always betray their true emotions, but not in the ways we think. When Stephen Porter and his team analyzed the husband's televised plea frame by frame, they found hints of anger and disgust in his face, not noticed by most of the public. Team member Leanne ten Brinke says, "The face and its musculature are so complex?so much more complex than anywhere else in our external bodies. There are some muscles in the face you can't control?and those muscles won't be activated in the absence of genuine emotion?you just can't do it."

Porter says, "If someone is telling a really important lie in which the consequences are dire, say life imprisonment, the lie will be revealed anyway. Because unlike body language, you can't monitor or completely control what?s going on your face."

Charles Darwin agreed with this idea over 100 years ago, when he said, "A man when moderately angry, or even when enraged, may command the movements of his body, but?those muscles of the face which are least obedient to the will, will sometimes alone betray a slight and passing emotion."

Art credit: freeimages.co.uk

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