Tuesday, February 8, 2011

302: The Brain and the Lie

Where there are people, there are lies. And the most interesting thing is, that lying is the result of the evolution of our brain. And we are the best liars there are on earth.

Research on primates has shown that it especially concerns -from an evolutionary point of view- the youngest parts of our brain. The six layers of the neo-cortex which are almost 80% of our brain.

Don't worry ..we aren't the only sinners in this world. Apes are good at it too. That is, the larger the neo-cortext the more cunning the individual becomes.

We lie all day. Big lies, small lies…whatever, we lie and sometimes tell the truth. But if you did not lie, you soon would be out of a job, divorced, hated by your friends.

So it is the grease in our social life. If it weren't, we wouldn't be here as the result of evolution. It seems to be a survival tool.

However, there is hardly a religion that approves of lying. But it is sooooooo human. In Genesis Adam and Eve lied to God.

Their son Cain wasn't better. "Where is your brother, Cain"….."hhhmmmmm…I don't know". But God had seen it all and we all know the consequences.

And that trick, to see it all, to see any lie, that certainly is one of our dreams. And maybe a brain scan can do the trick": "You can lie, but your brain can not!".

Through the centuries every culture had its tricks to expose the liar and in our time the polygraph was the invention. Many European countries reject the machine as unreliable, but in the US it still is popular.

However the National Academy of Sciences concluded that "[polygraph testing's] accuracy in distinguishing actual or potential security violators from innocent test takers is insufficient to justify reliance on its use in employee security screening in federal agencies?"

Just have a look at the Antipolygraph.org site and you are in the midst of the ongoing debate about unmasking the liar and the bad job the polygraph does in this.

But that machine is looking inward from the outside. The neuroscientist looks directly into your skull and observes the actions of your brain. Impossible to hide anything.

The psychiatrist Daniel Langleben noticed that children with a hyperactivity problem had problems with lying. That is, they could lie perfectly, but had difficulty NOT to tell the truth.
Neuroscientist Uses Brain Scan to See Lies Form
by Dina Temple-Raston, October 30, 2007. Note the date and realize how new this all is in neuroscience!

"He thought this might have to do with their lack of impulse control, and from that, he thought it was possible that lying was essentially harder than telling the truth.
One had to have good impulse control to lie, otherwise the truth came out first. That led to developing a way to track a lie as it is formed in the brain using a functional magnetic resonance imaging machine, or fMRI.
"The key point is that you need to exercise a system that is in charge of regulating and controlling your behavior when you lie more than when you just say the truth," Langleben said.
"Three areas of the brain generally become more active during deception: the anterior cingulated cortex, the dorsal lateral prefrontal cortex and the parietal cortex."
The anterior cingulated cortex is thought to be in charge of monitoring errors. The dorsal lateral prefrontal cortex is thought to control behavior. The parietal cortex processes sensory input.
As he sees it, lies aren't created out of thin air. Instead, he believes your brain has to think of the truth and then make a decision, in a sense, to do the opposite.

If you are instructed to say "the sky is green," Langleben believes your brain first thinks about the sky's true color, blue, before going with the falsehood. That process shows up on the fMRI scan."

To conclude this introductory lie. Have you ever seen a MRI scanner? It is interesting, but also clear that the technology is still pretty rough. But beware when they have developed one not larger than a helmet.

Neuroscientist Uses Brain Scan to See Lies Form
by Dina Temple-Raston, October 30, 2007

MRI Lie Detection

The Discussion

[13:23] herman Bergson: thank you....
[13:23] herman Bergson: This last statement Jerome has a philosophical catch :-)
[13:23] Jerome Ronzales: ok
[13:23] herman Bergson: so feel free ..the floor is yours
[13:24] druth Vlodovic: don't you engage in a certain amount of processing before telling the truth?
[13:24] Aya Beaumont: The problem is that fMRI used to be all that. More recent studies have shown that maybe the technique isn't that useful.
[13:24] Jerome Ronzales: ill communicate it to the canary in the kitchen
[13:24] Mick Nerido: Lying seems to be a social lubricant...
[13:24] Aya Beaumont: Why? Because the areas shown are truly massive.
[13:25] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): I would think one weighs the cost/benefit of truth or lie before speaking either
[13:25] BALDUR Joubert: rightly said so aya
[13:25] Jerome Ronzales: :\
[13:25] herman Bergson: Well Druth..it seems that the brain needs little action to generate the truth
[13:25] Aya Beaumont: It's all well and good to say "it's in the anterior cingulate cortex"
[13:26] Aya Beaumont: Understand that if each neuron would be an inch across, that would be the size of a continent.
[13:26] herman Bergson: Yes Aya...just look at the machine in the picture behind me...
[13:26] BALDUR Joubert: may be we should think about lies are a survival phenomena?
[13:26] druth Vlodovic: but a nervous or polite person might spend time rewriting the truth to say it in a way acceptable to the listener
[13:26] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): I would also tend to think that our survival instinct has to be involved in the mix
[13:26] herman Bergson: So clumsy......but we manage :-)
[13:26] Bejiita Imako: maybe
[13:26] BALDUR Joubert: lying--you look for an advantage..
[13:27] Aya Beaumont: Second problem: The areas they claim have a specific function actually have anything but. It is a simplification that stuck.
[13:27] herman Bergson: Lies ARE a survival phenomenon Baldur..
[13:27] Mick Nerido: A plausable lie is better than an implausible truth
[13:27] BALDUR Joubert: right..but how and why....
[13:27] Aya Beaumont: Third problem: These areas vary greatly between people.
[13:27] Jerome Ronzales: not kidding, how do you explain to a canary that is water and food are over, neuroscience to a canary is genius. he will never noticest until he falls down in the dirty old water, right?
[13:27] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): and sometimes lying made be the less hostile way of saying 'it is none of your busy'
[13:27] Jerome Ronzales: i hope its readable..
[13:28] Mick Nerido: Lieing is creativity at work
[13:28] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): surely Mick, it is artful
[13:28] herman Bergson: Well... the lie as a feuture of our behavior...we need it ...that is clear...
[13:29] Aya Beaumont: But no matter all that: There are still ways of cheating on it.
[13:29] herman Bergson: Baldur asks...WHY...good question....
[13:29] Aya Beaumont: First of all, make sure you don't lie. If you can convince yourself that something is true, you're good.
[13:29] Jerome Ronzales: common the canary brain is so small he will live happily ever after
[13:29] herman Bergson: Fact is ..that someone who only tells the truth gets kicked out...
[13:29] Mick Nerido: The truth is not always the answer we want
[13:30] herman Bergson: Yes..it is a complex issue..
[13:30] Bejiita Imako: that seems to be the case indeed
[13:30] Jerome Ronzales: canary*
[13:30] Bejiita Imako: complex like hell
[13:30] herman Bergson: you can philosophize about it for hours...until the canary is dead
[13:30] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): How naked we would be if all our truths were known
[13:30] Jerome Ronzales: not quite.
[13:30] Mick Nerido: Lies could be wishful thinking
[13:31] Aya Beaumont: As long as those in power were also exposed this way, that would be okay.
[13:31] herman Bergson: More important for us is that neuroscience invaded the skull..gets inside....
[13:31] druth Vlodovic: has there been a comparison of fMRI results between lying and other creative endevours?
[13:31] herman Bergson: This means a whole new definition of privacy for instance
[13:31] BALDUR Joubert: well. i think lying..for humans .. is a behaviour in despite of a opposite conviction..
[13:32] Jerome Ronzales: the truth is that the cage that cells the bird is also the only thing he compreends, but like a harmless canary that doesn't happen to humans, and all humans have their defaults, unfortunally
[13:32] Aya Beaumont: "Mister Obama, now that you run for your second term... these promises you have made, will you actually push them through?"
[13:32] herman Bergson: Yes Druth....definitely...
[13:32] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): Still I wonder where the decision is made to tell the truth of the lie
[13:32] BALDUR Joubert: so where is his advantage.for survival..or..in society..
[13:32] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): or*
[13:32] BALDUR Joubert: smile which for me is the same..
[13:32] herman Bergson: yeah good observation Aristotle...
[13:32] druth Vlodovic: what were the similarities?
[13:32] Jerome Ronzales: and its all for now..
[13:33] Aya Beaumont: Oh... and there is a good way not to have to fear this so much...
[13:33] Jerome Ronzales: lag
[13:33] herman Bergson: JUST HOLD ON!!!!
[13:33] herman Bergson: First Druth....
[13:33] Jerome Ronzales: i quit
[13:34] Jerome Ronzales goes back to passive mode.
[13:34] herman Bergson: Tests have shown the same MRI pictures of ordinary liars and 'professional' liers...same activity areas
[13:35] herman Bergson: What si more fascinating is the remark of Aristotle...
[13:35] herman Bergson: Philosophically almost the homunculus idea...
[13:35] herman Bergson: there is a little man in your head pushing the buttons
[13:35] Aya Beaumont: The entire problem can be solved by implanting something metallic into your skull.
[13:35] Mick Nerido: It would be fun to see what a no lie world would be like
[13:36] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): yes , the little man
[13:36] herman Bergson: hmmm....just think about that Mick....
[13:36] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): or woman :)
[13:36] BALDUR Joubert: grin..can't you be a big liar ari?
[13:36] Mick Nerido: There was a movie...
[13:36] herman Bergson: I would meet you....and I would think..geez what ugly outfit...
[13:37] herman Bergson: but I need to work with you....
[13:37] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): LOL
[13:37] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): yes, and your cross eyes
[13:37] Mick Nerido: Are there good and bad lies?
[13:37] herman Bergson: So let me be honest Mick..you look ugly...come one we need to work on this job..:_)
[13:37] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): LOL
[13:38] Bejiita Imako: hehe that dont sound to good indeed
[13:38] Mick Nerido: Ugly truth
[13:38] Aya Beaumont: With a metallic brain implant, you will die if they use fMRI on you
[13:38] Aya Beaumont: Which should simplify the situation.
[13:38] herman Bergson: Very nice Aya..I love that
[13:38] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): and our personal security would be fragile
[13:38] Bejiita Imako: yes the superconductying magnets will rip them through the head slashing the head to pieces
[13:38] druth Vlodovic: when I disagree with someone I try to start out by agreeing with them, I've never considered it lying...
[13:38] druth Vlodovic: though it would be interesting to see if my brain does
[13:39] Aya Beaumont: Bejita: No, what happens is they amass heat.
[13:39] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): I better get one of those implants
[13:39] herman Bergson: Cool Druth..yes!
[13:39] Bejiita Imako: cause i ve seen what those magnets can do
[13:39] : llStopAnimation: Script trying to stop animations but agent not found
[13:40] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): or I will just tell them I have one :)
[13:40] Aya Beaumont: yeah, it's no joke.
[13:40] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): I will lie about it
[13:40] Aya Beaumont: You can make a CT scan first to check, Aristotle.
[13:40] herman Bergson: ok...this was just the introduction to lying...
[13:40] Mick Nerido: Its better that we can't read each others minds
[13:41] herman Bergson: next time well discuss the philosophical and ethical implications...
[13:41] Bejiita Imako: interesting subject
[13:41] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): :) if they find out the truth I will be in trouble
[13:41] Bejiita Imako: and so muct TRUE fact in it as well
[13:41] Mick Nerido: LOL
[13:41] Bejiita Imako: hehe
[13:41] herman Bergson: So...thank you for your participation...
[13:41] herman Bergson: This is no lie...scan my brain..:-)
[13:41] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): Thank you Professor, if you are being truthful
[13:41] BALDUR Joubert: well..as our av's are lying about how we look..
[13:41] Bejiita Imako: haha
[13:42] herman Bergson: class dismmissed :-)
[13:42] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): :)
[13:42] Aya Beaumont: This statement is a lie.
[13:42] Bejiita Imako: nice again as usual this
[13:42] Aya Beaumont: Thank you, Herman.
[13:42] herman Bergson: The paradox Aya..nice one ^_^
[13:42] Florimell Farstrider: Lying? are you implying I'm not an actual musketeer? ;)
[13:42] Mick Nerido: Good class, thanks
[13:42] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): If I say I tell only lies, can you believe it?
[13:43] herman Bergson: Yes Aristotle...for that is a paradox as old as the greeks
[13:43] Florimell Farstrider: of course not. I'd be a fool to believe such a notorious liar.
[13:43] Bejiita Imako: no cause then that statement would also be a lie
[13:43] Aya Beaumont: The question is if you can read things from memory instead.
[13:43] druth Vlodovic: thank you herman, it was interesting as always
[13:43] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): indeed, paraphrased by yours truly
[13:43] herman Bergson: the paradox is easy to solve....
[13:43] Aya Beaumont: But any way it works: there may well be people who can lie without being detected.
[13:44] herman Bergson: the statement is self referential...
[13:44] herman Bergson: that is the faulty trick
[13:44] Aristotle von Doobie (aristotlevon.doobie): I would think that psychopaths could. Aya
[13:44] herman Bergson: I dont know Aya...
[13:44] Aya Beaumont: If so, these people will be the ones reaching the top.
[13:44] Aya Beaumont: We are all better off if everyone can lie.
[13:45] herman Bergson: From a neurobiological point of view I would say NO
[13:45] herman Bergson: There is the problem of people believing their own leis...
[13:45] Aya Beaumont: Herman, you have no way of knowing, unless you can prove a negative?
[13:46] Aya Beaumont: They MAY exist. And thus, believing that they can not is extremely dangerous.
[13:46] Florimell Farstrider: I struggled so see what Nietzsche meant when he exclaimed 'Why truth? Why not untruth?'. I'm beginning to come around to his way of thinking. The act of lying is in many ways more remarkable than truth-telling, so why isn't lying held in higher regard?
[13:46] herman Bergson: I said ..my guess is No....but people believing their own lies...
[13:46] herman Bergson: No idea how thebrain would look like in a scan then..
[13:46] Aya Beaumont: As I said, the map is far from complete.
[13:47] herman Bergson: this is all so new,Aya....developments siince 2006...
[13:47] Aya Beaumont: We have only vague ideas as to what those areas do.
[13:47] Aya Beaumont: Indeed.
[13:47] herman Bergson: yes so true....
[13:47] Mick Nerido: some day we may evolve beyond lying
[13:47] herman Bergson: we are still scratching the surface
[13:47] druth Vlodovic: or evolve to the point we no longer need truth
[13:47] Aya Beaumont: Until we DO know, and that's at least decades away (like fusion), let's not make plans for a no-lie society.
[13:47] BALDUR Joubert: smile scatchin g the surface.that is philosophy:)
[13:48] herman Bergson: But evenin scratching the durface we are flabbergasted about what we discover
[13:48] Aya Beaumont: Absolutely.
[13:49] herman Bergson: Thank you all...
[13:49] herman Bergson: :-)
[13:49] Aya Beaumont: Thank you.
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