Liars 'can be caught when they think too much'
Liars give themselves away by thinking too hard about their story, a researcher into insurance fraud said yesterday.
Sharon Leal, a research fellow at the University of Portsmouth in England, has been awarded a £112,000 (€130,000) grant by a leading insurance fraud investigation firm to examine how people behave when they make fraudulent insurance claims.
The expert in detecting deception says her research has shown that liars make extensive plans before they lie, but truth-tellers do not plan their story.
She explained that because liars need to think about their plan when being questioned, this puts a large load on their brain, which in turn affects their behaviour. She said it was these changes that were most likely to form the basis of new investigative methods designed to spot the cheats.
Dr Leal said: "There is a real need to use evidence-based methods that are scientifically proven to work to stop wasting insurance companies' time and money and to stop innocent people being treated as suspects while the guilty get away."
She added: "People think if they are telling the truth it will shine out, but it doesn't."
Dr Leal said that many current techniques and lie-detector gadgets were unreliable.
She said: "Contrary to popular belief, motivated liars do not fidget, avert their gaze or blink nervously. They are usually calm and have planned their lies down to the last detail."
Dr Leal hopes that by studying liars in laboratory conditions she will be able to identify the real clues that give liars away.