The Sound of Liars

How do we work out if someone is lying to us? How do we work out if we can trust what they are telling us?

It is quite difficult because there are people who are very good at telling lies. It may also be the case that we choose want we want to believe.

However, there is recent research published on what our brain uses to deduce from a person’s voice whether or not they are telling us lies.

If you want a listener to believe what you are saying use your voice thus:

  • faster speech rate
  • greater intensity in the middle of the word
  • falling pitch at the end of the word

According to scientists from the Science and Technology for Music and Sound laboratory (CNRS/Ircam/Sorbonne Université/Ministère de la Culture) and the Perceptual Systems Laboratory (CNRS/ENS PSL) , if you get those right then people will find it harder to detect if you are a liar.

They have also shown that this signature was perceived similarly in a number of languages (French, English, Spanish), and that it is registered “automatically” by the brain: even when participants were not judging the speaker’s certainty or honesty, this characteristic sound impacted how they memorized the words.

Two types of judgements (certainty, honesty) are based on a single acoustic signature: high pitch that falls at the end of the word, intensity in the middle of the word, and fast speech rate. Above: certainty, below: honesty. © Jean-Julien Aucouturier and Louise Goupil, STMS laboratory (CNRS/Ircam/Sorbonne Université/Ministère de la Culture)

This research was published on 8 February in Nature Communications.

Categories: Science

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1 reply »

  1. Hand gestures…don’t forget the steady hand gestures…… they show that the speaker reeeeeally means what they say.

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