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Despite all the advice about lie detection going around, study after study has found that it is very difficult to spot when someone is lying.
Previous tests involving watching videos of suspects typically find that both experts and non-experts come in at around 50/50: in other words you might as well flip a coin.
Now, though, a new study published in Human Communication Research, has found that a process of active questioning yielded almost perfect results, with 97.8% of liars successfully detected (Levine et al., 2014).
The process of lie detection has nothing to do with supposed ‘tells’ like avoiding eye-contact or sweating, and everything to do with the way the suspect is questioned.
In the series of studies, participants played a trivia game in which they were secretly offered a chance to cheat.
In one experiment 12% cheated and in another 44.9% chose to cheat.