London: British scientists have claimed to have decoded a secret code written on everyone’s face which gets revealed while lying.
Researchers, from the University of British Columbia, have discovered five tell-tale muscle groups that control facial expressions and activate differently when we are trying to deceive, the Daily Mail reported.
Psychologists based their study on over 23,000 frames of television footage from 52 people emotionally pleading to the public for the return of a missing relative — half of whom were eventually convicted of murdering that person.
The paper — Darwin the Detective: Observable Facial Muscle Contractions Reveal Emotional High-Stakes Lies — looked for emotional leakage. It observed particularly via those facial muscles which are harder to control, especially during stressful events or when high concentration is needed to maintain a lie.
Specifically, the “grief” muscles, the corrugator supercilli — located around the eyebrow — and depressor anguli oris — between the chin and corner of the lips – were more often contracted in the faces of genuine pleaders.
Researchers found subtle contraction of the zygomatic major — which runs from cheekbone to the mouth — activated during masking smiles, and full contraction of the frontalis – the brow — which flexed during failed attempts to appear sad, “were more commonly identified in the faces of deceptive pleaders”.
“During the critical lie, told by each deceptive murderer, upper face surprise and lower face happiness were likely to be expressed, attributed to the failed attempt to appear sad and leakage of happiness,” the study found.