Saturday, November 27, 2021

    Facial Muscle Movements Tracked by New Technology to Expose Liars


    When it comes to detecting deception, we currently have few options, but a group of Israeli researchers claims to have developed something better than anything we’ve seen before.

    A team of Tel Aviv University researchers led by Prof. Dino Levy discovered that some people involuntarily activate muscles in their cheeks and brows when they lie by using stickers printed on soft surfaces containing electrodes that monitor and measure the activity of muscles and nerves. There had previously been no sensors capable of measuring these subtle muscle contractions, but the innovative ones invented by Prof. Yael Hanein and sold by Israeli company X-trodes proved sensitive enough. Lie detection tests revealed a 73 percent success rate, which is higher than any existing technology.

    “Many studies have shown that it’s almost impossible for us to tell when someone is lying to us. Even experts, such as police interrogators, do only a little better than the rest of us,” Prof. Levy told Israel21. “Existing lie detectors are so unreliable that their results are not admissible as evidence in courts of law – because just about anyone can learn how to control their pulse and deceive the machine. Consequently, there is a great need for a more accurate deception-identifying technology.”

    Prof. Levy’s team put the new stickers on a number of test subjects’ cheeks and brows and had them sit across from each other while repeating a series of sentences, some real and some fake, based on the assumption that facial muscles distort when we lie. One of them wore headphones and had to repeat what was said to them, even if they had to lie at times. The person on the other end of the line had the difficult chore of determining when they were being lied to. They switched roles at some point.

    Participants in the study, as expected, had a difficult difficulty detecting their partners’ falsehoods, at least with any statistical significance. The electrical signals delivered by the electrodes affixed to their faces, on the other hand, caught lies at a rate of 73%, which is higher than any other existing technique.

    “We had the advantage in our study of knowing what the subjects heard through the headsets, and thus knowing when they were lying,” Prof. Levy explained. “As a result, we trained our algorithm to identify lies based on EMG [electromyography] signals coming from the electrodes using powerful machine learning techniques.”

    Researchers are now aiming to remove the electrodes and train AI algorithms to detect small muscle spasms just by examining high-resolution video footage. Once the rate of lie detection is high enough, the system might be utilised in police interrogations, airport security, and online job interviews, among other applications.

    It will be interesting to observe if some people can regulate their facial muscles in the same way they control their heart rate in order to fool traditional lie detectors.

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