Your nose shrinks when you lie – and it’s because of ‘reverse Pinocchio effect’

While Pinocchio’s nose would extend when he lied, it seems the reverse is true in reality.

Scientists from the University of Granada have found that when a person is telling a lie, their nose actually shrinks from the drop in temperature.

Based on these findings, the team has developed a lie detector test that monitors the temperature of the face to deter if a person is giving a false statement.

The team claims that the test is the ‘world’s most reliable’, with an accuracy 10% higher than the commonly used polygraph.

In the study, the team use thermal imaging on 60 students as they completed a number of tasks.

This included placing a phone call, during which they had to tell a close friend a significant lie.

Meanwhile, a control group watched distressing videos of car accidents, which they had to explain to someone over the phone.

The thermal images revealed that when a participant was lying, the tip of their nose dropped by up to 1.2 degrees celsius, while the temperature of their forehead rose by up to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

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The greater the difference between these two temperatures, the more likely it was that the person was lying.

Dr Emilio Gomez Milan, who led the study, said: “One has to think in order to lie, which rises the temperature of the forehead.

“At the same time we feel anxious, which lowers the temperature of the nose.”

Amazingly, this change in temperature actually causes the nose to very subtly shrink – although the researchers highlight that this change isn’t visible to the naked eye.

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