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Front. Hum. Neurosci. | doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2018.00071

Lie detection using fNIRS monitoring of inhibition-related brain regions discriminates infrequent but not frequent liars

 Fang Li1,  Huilin Zhu1, Jie Xu1, Qianqian Gao1, 2, Huan Guo1, Shijing Wu1, Xinge Li1 and Sailing He1, 3*
  • 1South China Normal University, China
  • 2Guangdong Dance and Drama College, China
  • 3Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden

Functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) was used to test whether monitoring inhibition-related brain regions is a feasible method for detecting both infrequent liars and frequent liars. 32 participants were divided into two groups: the deceptive group (liars) and the non-deceptive group (innocents). All the participants were required to undergo a simulated interrogation by a computer. The participants from the deceptive group were instructed to tell a mix of lies and truths and those of the non-deceptive group were instructed always to tell the truth. Based on the number of deceptions, the participants of the deceptive group were further divided into a infrequently deceptive group (infrequent liars) and a frequently deceptive group (frequent liars). The infrequent liars exhibited greater neural activities than the frequent liars and the innocents in the left middle frontal gyrus (MFG) when performing the deception detection tasks. While performing deception detection tasks, infrequent liars showed significantly greater neural activation in the left MFG than the baseline, but frequent liars and innocents did not exhibit this pattern of neural activation in any area of inhibition-related brain regions. The results of individual analysis showed an acceptable accuracy of detecting infrequent liars, but an unacceptable accuracy of detecting frequent liars. These results suggest that using fNIRS monitoring of inhibition-related brain regions is feasible for detecting infrequent liars, for whom deception may be more effortful and therefore more physiologically marked, but not frequent liars.

Keywords: fNIRS, deception, detection feasibility, inhibition, middle frontal gyrus

Received: 17 Sep 2017; Accepted: 08 Feb 2018.

Edited by:

Peter Lewinski, University of Oxford, United Kingdom

Reviewed by:

Matthew K. Belmonte, The Com DEALL Trust, India
Noman Naseer, Air University, Pakistan  

Copyright: © 2018 Li, Zhu, Xu, Gao, Guo, Wu, Li and He. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Prof. Sailing He, South China Normal University, Guangzhou, China,