To make sure you never miss out on your favourite NEW stories, we're happy to send you some reminders

Click 'OK' then 'Allow' to enable notifications

The surprisingly simple method for spotting a liar discovered by scientists

The surprisingly simple method for spotting a liar discovered by scientists

Can you lie and multitask?

Whether you've tried to get yourself out of a sticky situation or didn't want to share your true feelings about someone, we've all lied at one time or another.

Though, some are better at it than others.

However, new research has now shared an easy way to catch a liar in the act.

Scientists at the University of Portsmouth suggest that by simply asking a suspect to perform an additional task while being questioned, it's easier to spot dishonesty.

How does this work?

Jan Scherders / Getty
Jan Scherders / Getty

Well, being deceitful puts more strain on the brain and requires more mental energy to do it successfully.

Throwing a second task in the mix like giving them random characters to remember makes it more difficult to continue a lie, making it easier to spot the lie.

To test the theory, 164 people were asked their views on controversial news topics such as Covid passports, immigration, Brexit and Boris Johnson.

Then, they were asked to either lie or tell the truth again about the same issues. Some participants were also given the task of memorising a car registration that they were told was 'extremely important.'

It was found that the stories of the liars were deemed less believable compared to the truth-tellers. This was particularly the case when the liars were also distracted by an additional task.

Peter Cade / Getty
Peter Cade / Getty

Professor Aldert Vrij, one of the study’s authors, explained: “The pattern of results suggests that the introduction of secondary tasks in an interview could facilitate lie detection but such tasks need to be introduced carefully.”

According to Vrij, secondary tasks are only effective in catching a liar if they can not be easily ignored or 'neglected.'

"This can be achieved by either telling interviewees that the secondary task is important, as demonstrated in this experiment, or by introducing a secondary task that cannot be neglected (such as gripping an object, holding an object into the air, or driving a car simulator).

"Secondary tasks that do not fulfil these criteria are unlikely to facilitate lie detection."

The study was published in the International Journal of Psychology & Behavior Analysis.

So, there you have it. Try it out for yourself next time if you're trying to suss out someone's true feelings. If they struggle to handle both tasks, chances are they're lying.

Featured Image Credit: Jan Scherders / Peter Cade / Getty