From town hall meetings to movies, playing loose with the truth is a major topic these days. We need a new lie detector test, and we HAVE one: Instead of asking suspected criminals to confess orally, police should ask them to WRITE IT OUT, since new research has figured out how truth and lies show up in our handwriting.
It’s been discovered that various characteristics in written lies are distinctly different from those that are exposed in truthful writing. These differences can be identified by a computerized writing-analysis system that can measure differences in pressure on the page, duration of the pen on and off the page and the flow of writing. Researcher Sara Rosenblum says, “It seems that the act of writing a false text involves extensive cognitive resources and the automatic act of writing is thereby affected.”
James E. Mahon, who wrote the definition of lying for the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, thinks that there is far less real lying in society than we might think. He says, “In his speech to Congress (the one during which a Congressman called him a liar), President Obama was not telling a lie as I define it. He said: ‘The reforms I
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