A first-of-its-kind study shows that a pencil and paper can show whether a suspect is telling the truth or not:
[The researcher’s] new study involved 31 police and military participants going on a mock mission to pick up a package from another agent before delivering it somewhere else. Afterwards the participants answered questions about the mission. Crucially, they were also asked to draw the scene of the package pick-up. Half the participants acted as truth-tellers, the others played the part of liars.
Here’s what happened:
Vrij’s team reasoned that clever liars would visualise a location they’d been to, other than where the exchange took place, and draw that. They further reasoned that this would mean they’d forget to include the agent who participated in the exchange. This thinking proved shrewd: liars indeed tended not to draw the agent, whereas truth-tellers did. In fact, 80 per cent of truth tellers and 87 per cent of liars could be correctly classified on the basis of this factor alone.
Visual thinking tells no lies.