Liars have well-connected brains

Oct. 1, 2005 at 11:53 PM
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LOS ANGELES, Oct. 1 (UPI) -- California researchers say pathological liars have different brains than other people, with fewer but better-connected neurons.

Scientists at the University of Southern California put 108 subjects through batteries of psychological tests and then scanned their brains using magnetic structural imaging, the Los Angeles Times reported. They found that habitual liars had 25.7 percent more white matter in the prefrontal cortex and 14.2 percent less gray matter than others.

The white matter increases the speed of communication between neurons.

Adrian Raine, a USC psychologist, told the Times the greater amount of white matter may make people more adept at lying because they can juggle facts more easily.

"Lying is cognitively complex," said USC psychologist Adrian Raine, senior scientist on the project. "It is not easy to lie. It is certainly more difficult than telling the truth. Some people have a biological advantage in lying. It gives them a slight edge."

The findings were published in the British Journal of Psychiatry.

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