Lie to my face: An electromyography approach to the study of deceptive behavior

Anastasia Shuster, Lilah Inzelberg, Ori Ossmy, Liz Izakson, Yael Hanein, Dino J. Levy*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Background: Deception is present in all walks of life, from social interactions to matters of homeland security. Nevertheless, reliable indicators of deceptive behavior in real-life scenarios remain elusive. Methods: By integrating electrophysiological and communicative approaches, we demonstrate a new and objective detection approach to identify participant-specific indicators of deceptive behavior in an interactive scenario of a two-person deception task. We recorded participants' facial muscle activity using novel dry screen-printed electrode arrays and applied machine-learning algorithms to identify lies based on brief facial responses. Results: With an average accuracy of 73%, we identified two groups of participants: Those who revealed their lies by activating their cheek muscles and those who activated their eyebrows. We found that the participants lied more often with time, with some switching their telltale muscle groups. Moreover, while the automated classifier, reported here, outperformed untrained human detectors, their performance was correlated, suggesting reliance on shared features. Conclusions: Our findings demonstrate the feasibility of using wearable electrode arrays in detecting human lies in a social setting and set the stage for future research on individual differences in deception expression.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2386
JournalBrain and Behavior
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • cognition
  • electrophysiology
  • experimental psychology
  • psychology


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