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Pinocchio effectJoe Segen2016-12-09T02:16:08+00:00
A popular term for the observation that lying (untruthfulness) results in changes in temperature around the nose, which are attributed to activity of the insula (in the brain). Truthful responses are said to increase activity of the insula and reduce the nose’s temperature, whilst lying decreases insula activity and raises the nose temperature, which can be detected by thermography (bottom image).
The effect was named after Pinocchio (top image), whose nose grew every time he told a lie. If these findings from the University of Granada (Spain) in 2012 are confirmed, the effect could have profound implications for law enforcement as it would provide a tool far superior to the polygraph, which detects lies in about 53% of cases–i.e., only slightly better than a coin toss.
The term of course refers to the fictional character and protagonist of the children’s novel, The Adventures of Pinocchio (1883) by Carlo Collodi. In Collodi’s first version, the wooden marionette was ill-behaved and ended up getting himself hung to death by the Fox and the Cat.