Sleepiness & Honesty

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When reading chapter 11 I was interested in the section about humans as lie detectors. I have seen the show "Lie to Me" and did doubt whether it was as accurate as the show made it out to be. I deduced that it wasn't, because they make far stretches to come to a conclusion, and it's a television show- of course they're going to add more drama. However I was curious as to whether or not some of those 'lie cues' could work in real life. After trying out some of the simplest ones on my friends (such as minimal eye contact, fidgeting, touching of the face, looking down to the left, fake smiles-Duchenne smile) and realized that it was more difficult to spot a lie than I had previously thought, and signs could be easily faked.

Later on that day, I was talking to one of my friends on the phone late at night and we were both getting sleepy. I was still awake, but as she was getting sleepier I realized that she was becoming a lot more open with some of the stuff she was telling me. We're good friends, but when I asked questions, she answered them right away in a very straight forward and honest manner, instead of usually when people think for a moment of how best to answer something. I realized that perhaps, when someone's sleepy, they tell the truth! When I researched this, it hit me that it may not be the sleepiness, but the fact that when someone is drifting off to sleep, their brain starts to slow down many sensory areas as well, while different neurons become active. One becomes a lot less guarded and is less aware of their surroundings and understanding of what is happening, and respond by doing things very straightforward, or automatically and without much deep thought.

Much to my surprise, when I told my friend about this a couple days later, she said I've done the same thing myself! At a sleepover during the summer she swore that I hadn't fallen asleep yet and was answering every one of her questions honestly. But just as she didn't remember anything she had said when I was questioning her, I don't remember anything about answering questions during that sleepover either- we decided that we must have been so sleepy, perhaps we either forgot about it or thought it was a dream.

I believe that perhaps there is some sort of link between telling the truth while being sleepy, and just as some of those simple clues to find out when a person is lying, perhaps being sleepy works as well. This could be easily falsified with many claims. Perhaps it holds no reliability and was a one-time deal, perhaps other side effects from the day such as being stressed, etc., led to us opening up and perhaps we can use Occam's razor and simply say that we were too tired to do anything but tell the truth. However, I still believe that there might be some correlation between sleepiness and telling the truth. For those of you interested, try it out on your own friends!


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This page contains a single entry by saly0015 published on November 20, 2011 11:22 PM.

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