Our minds on media.

Musings on the effects of media on cognition.

Levine et al 2010


p id=”ref”>Levine, T. R., Serota, K. B., and Shulman, H. C. (2010). The impact of lie to me on viewers’ actual ability to detect deception. Communication Research, 37(6):847-856.




The new television series Lie to Me portrays a social scientist solving crimes through his ability to read nonverbal communication. Promotional materials claim the content is based on actual science. Participants (N = 108) watched an episode of Lie to Me, a different drama, or no program and then judged a series of honest and deceptive interviews. Lie to Me viewers were no better at distinguishing truths from lies but were more likely than control participants to misidentify honest interviewees as deceptive.Watching Lie to Me decreases truth bias thereby increasing suspicion of others while at the same time reducing deception detection ability.

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