Deception, Magic & Lying
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The Psychology Of Lying

This research investigates the verbal and non-verbal indicators of lying, and examines techniques designed to enhance the detection of deception.

One of Prof Wiseman’s best-known studies involved a mass participation experiment examining whether the public are better at detecting lies on television, radio, or in a newspaper. Sir Robin Day, a well-known British political commentator, was interviewed twice about his favourite film. In one interview he told the truth, in the other he consistently lied. Transcripts of these interviews were printed in The Daily Telegraph, the soundtrack was broadcast on BBC Radio One and the film of the interview was shown on BBC1’s Tomorrow’s World programme. The public were asked to choose which of the two interviews they believed contained the lies. Over 40,000 people took part in the study and the results suggested that verbal cues are more reliable indicators of deceit than visual cues.

Prof Wiseman regularly lectures to organisations on the prevention and detection of deception.


BBC Breakfast repeats Prof Wiseman's lying experiment

The Times article on fake and genuine smiles

The Psychology Of Magic

Prof Wiseman and Dr Peter Lamont (University of Edinburgh) have utilised their backgrounds in magic to gain unique access to leading international magicians, interviewing them about the psychology used to create and perform magic.

The results of this work, published in their book Magic in Theory, revealed how psychology plays an important role in the performance of magic, including, for example, ways in which magicians manipulate an audience’s attention and reduce suspicion at key moments during a performance.

In addition, Wiseman and Lamont carried out other related research funded by a Wellcome Trust SciArt grant.



Articles about the psychology of magic in The Guardian.

An article describing Prof Wiseman's work into the psychology of magic was published in Magic: The International magazine for magicians, and can be downloaded here.

The Daily Telegraph reports on Prof Wiseman's search for the first film of a magician.