Known for his creativity, Richard Wiseman of the University of Hertfordshire, conducted one of the largest psychology experiments at the end of the UKs National Science Week in 1995.
In this experirment over 41,000 people participated in answering a simple question – which story was true and which was false. You see, Wiseman interviewed a well known commentator, Sir Richard Day, and asked him to share with the audience one true story and one false story about his favorite Movie. After telling two stories claiming describing why each movie was his favorite, participants could then vote on which story was true and which was false.
Well, this is where it gets interesting. Those who voted provided their answers from learning of the interview from one of three ways – the watched it on TV, they listened to it on the radio, or they read about it in the paper.
The ability to tell the truthful story from the false story was very different depending on the medium you learned about it.
“Radio listeners detected the lies 73.4% of the time, newspaper readers 64.2% and television viewers 51.8%. This supported the prediction that visual cues would reduce individuals’ ability to detect lying.”
So be wary of your abilities especially when checking visual cues – you are little better than chance at predicting lies from truth.