New Lie Detector Tracks Eye Movements

Research by psychologists at the University of Utah has led to the development of a new lie detection system that tracks the activities of a subject's eyes:

Using eye movement to detect lies contrasts with polygraph testing. Instead of measuring a person's emotional reaction to lying, eye-tracking technology measures the person's cognitive reaction. To do so, the researchers record a number of measurements while a subject is answering a series of true-and-false questions on a computer. The measurements include pupil dilation, response time, reading and rereading time, and errors.

The researchers determined that lying requires more work than telling the truth, so they look for indications that the subject is working hard. For example, a person who is being dishonest may have dilated pupils and take longer to read and answer the questions. These reactions are often minute and require sophisticated measurement and statistical modeling to determine their significance.[...]

Besides measuring a different type of response, eye-tracking methods for detecting lies has several other benefits over the polygraph. Eye tracking promises to cost substantially less, require one-fifth of the time currently needed for examinations, require no attachment to the subject being tested, be available in any language and be administered by technicians rather than qualified polygraph examiners.


Link via DVICE | Photo by Flickr user orangeacid used under Creative Commons license

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I'm not going to sing the praises of Lie to Me, but they did make one very good point on the show: even if you can tell that someone is lying, you don't necessarily know why.

Actual, incontrovertible evidence will always be preferable to interrogating human beings, who are notoriously bad at remembering things accurately.
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Or, someone knowing that they are going to take the test, can just invalidate the results by acting as if they're lying when telling the truth. you can't come up with a test that isn't easily circumnavigable by a well trained or well aware person.
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"For example, a person who is being dishonest may have dilated pupils and take longer to read and answer the questions. These reactions are often minute and require sophisticated measurement and statistical modeling to determine their significance."

Saying a person who is being dishonest MAY have dilated pupils means that someone may exhibit the same reaction while being honest.

Using statistical modeling means that they can only state the PROBABILITY that someone is lying, not that a person is CERTAINLY lying.

Until there is a way to actually read someone's thoughts, any kind of polygraph or lie-detector will not provide any useful data (meaning it won't be acceptable as legal evidence).
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