Blinking During and After Lying

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Abstract

We tested the hypothesis derived from eye blink literature that when liars experience cognitive demand, their lies would be associated with a decrease in eye blinks, directly followed by an increase in eye blinks when the demand has ceased after the lie is told. A total of 13 liars and 13 truth tellers lied or told the truth in a target period; liars and truth tellers both told the truth in two baseline periods. Their eye blinks during the target and baseline periods and directly after the target period (target offset period) were recorded. The predicted pattern (compared to the baseline periods, a decrease in eye blinks during the target period and an increase in eye blinks during the target offset period) was found in liars and was strikingly different from the pattern obtained in truth tellers. They showed an increase in eye blinks during the target period compared to the baseline periods, whereas their pattern of eye blinks in the target offset period did not differ from baseline periods. The implications for lie detection are discussed.

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