When you think of a lie detector test, you might picture a polygraph that measures changes in heart rate.
But scientists have developed a new device that can tell if you’re lying based solely on your writing.
The device, which was created by researchers from Cardiff University, and can spot lies in written text with 80% accuracy.
Known as VeriPol, the tool is designed to spot lies in police reports – and it’s already being used in police stations across Spain.
The tool could save the police time and effort, but could also deter people from filing fake statements in the first place.
To develop the tool, the researchers fed it historical police reports that were known to be false, so it could code each and begin to ‘learn’ specific patterns.
This included shorter statements that were more focussed on the stolen property than the incident; a lack of precise detail about the incident itself; limited details of the attacker; and a lack of witnesses or other hard evidence.
Dr Jose Camacho-Collados, co-author of the study, said: “As an example, our model began to identify false statements where it was reported that incidents happened from behind or where the aggressors were wearing helmets.
“Similarly, other clear indicators of falsehood were descriptions of the type of objects stolen.
“References to iPhones and Samsung were associated with false claims, whereas bicycles and necklaces were correlated with true reports.”
To test the accuracy of the system, the researchers fed it more than 1,000 police reports from the Spanish National Police.
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Results revealed that it was ‘extremely effective in discriminating between false and true reports’, with a success rate of more than 80%.
Dr Camacho-Collados added: “Our study has given us a fascinating insight into how people lie to the police, and a tool that can be used to deter people from doing so in the future.
“Police officers across Spain are now using VeriPol and integrating it into their working practices.
“Ultimately we hope that by showing that automatic detection is possible it will deter people from lying to the police in the first instance.”
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