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The Pinocchio Effect: Lying and Body Gestures

Kamis, 21 Jul 2022 12:00 WIB
The Pinocchio Effect: Lying and Body Gestures
Jakarta -

We all know our old little friend Pinocchio's story about his nose which grows whenever he told lies. Even though it's purely fictional, there's a discovery about what happens to our noses when we lie, namely The Pinocchio Effect. According to Science Daily, whenever someone tells lies, the temperature around their nose and in the orbital muscle in the inner corner of their eye will increase. This finding was found with the help of a thermographer.

.Thermographer/ Foto: Pexels

First developed in the USA during World War II to detect enemy (night vision), thermography is a technique based on body temperature that has been applied in many fields including the general industry, building industry, and medicine. Researchers conducting the matter have demonstrated that temperature asymmetries on both sides of the body and local temperature changes are associated with the subject's physical, mental, and emotional status. Moreover, a thermogram is a somatic marker of subjective or mental states, therefore allowing us to see what a person is feeling or thinking.

In other words, when we lie about our feelings, the temperature around our nose increases with one element in our brain namely insula activated. Insula is a component of the brain reward system and only activates when we experience real feelings, called qualia. The insula is involved in the detection and regulation of body temperature. The more active the insule (the greater the feeling), the lower the temperature change.

.Ilustrasi kebohongan/ Foto: Unsplash

While it might be hard to detect a liar with this method, body gestures might help to tell whether people are lying or telling the truth. One of a few examples would be facial touching like covering their mouth or touching their nose. When we lie, our body releases chemicals namely catecholamines, which cause the tissues inside the nose to swell. The increased blood pressure makes the nose swell and causes the nerve endings inside the nose to tingle, thus making it itchy. Hence, if someone is lying, they will feel the urge to satisfy the itch by continuously stroking their nose. Research also found that liars feel a heightened tendency to scratch their ears or neck when they lie.

People who are lying also often fidget more than those who are giving straight answers. This is mainly caused by discomfort or nervousness, which may have been symptoms of someone being worried that they'll be caught out for being dishonest. The Harvard study, Evidence for the Pinocchio Effect found that people who are lying tend to use a lot more words than people who are telling the truth, probably because they feel the need to convince the other person of what they're saying, rather than just tell them something.

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