A lying person’s nose doesn’t grow like in the Pinocchio story, according to Spanish researchers, instead it heats up during the deceitful act.
In a thermography study measuring the temperature change of an individual’s face performing specific tasks, psychology researchers from the University of Granada in Spain found that the temperature around the nose and orbital muscle rise when a person fibs.
The same study also found there is a facial temperature drop when test subjects performed difficult mental tasks and an increase in facial temperature during moments of high anxiety.
The “Pinocchio Effect” study was shared in Live Science, and is part of a larger doctoral thesis that will be published later time in a peer-reviewed scientific journal.
According to the study’s authors, the temperature changes could be related to a portion of the brain’s cerebral cortex known as the insula, which is believed to play a role in a person’s consciousness in addition to the regulation of body temperature. When someone lies, activity in this region of the brain is increased, according to their data.
The facial temperature study is similar to prior research that’s shown a skin temperature increase in female test subject’s after being touched by a male experimenter, particularly in the chest and face.
Thermal infrared cameras can also be used to detect certain emotions as well as whether or not a person is intoxicated. Greek researches at the University of Patras conducted a study earlier this year in which they gave 20 healthy test subjects a glass of beer every 20 minutes for four hours. As the subjects drank the beer, infrared cameras exposed rising temperatures in the nose and mouth areas of their faces compared with the forehead.
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