Chances are you’ve gone paranoid at least one time trying to figure out whether the person in front of you is lying or not. It was believed eye movements would give out a liar but a new study shows there’s no connection. So, there you have it, another myth debunked: eye movements not linked to lying.
Whether or not a person is moving his or her eyes in a particular way, this is not a reliable way to figure out if he or she is a liar. In fact, by focusing on that, you’d be missing out aspects that really point when something is wrong. Next time better focus on behavior, speech and gestures, because eye movements have nothing do to with it.
In an experiment led by Richard Wiseman, researchers tested subjects in three trials in an effort to see if the eyes could pin point a liar. In one of the trials, subjects were even told about the eye movement theory, but there was no proof eye movement says anything about a person’s honesty.
The theory was certain eye movements indicate deception. A person that would be moving his or her eyes up and to the right might be actually lying. Study authors write: “This is in line with findings from a considerable amount of previous work showing that facial clues (including eye movements) are poor indicators of deception”.
Co-author Caroline Watt added in the press release: “Our research provides no support for the idea and so suggests that it is time to abandon this approach to detecting deceit”.
But as Howard Ehrlichman, professor emeritus of psychology told ABC News, the research doesn’t mean eyes can’t give in any secrets about the people in front of us. “I found that while the direction of eye movements wasn’t related to anything, whether people actually made eye movements or not was related to aspects of things going on in their mind” said the Queen College professor.
Ehrlichman, who has done his own share of studies in the field, explained people often use eye movements when they’re trying to remember something. “If there’s no eye movement during a television interview, I’m convinced that the person has rehearsed or repeated what they are going to say many times” he said.