Prof. Francisco Lacerda. Photo: Eva Dalin
Prof. Francisco Lacerda. Photo: Eva Dalin

In the early 2000s, a number of British authorities and insurance companies installed an advanced voice analysis system that was supposed to analyse incoming calls and reveal whether the person who, for example, called in sick was telling the truth.

The only problem was that the system did not work. In a joint article, my colleague Anders Eriksson from the University of Gothenburg and I observed that the past 50 years of research on voice-based lie detectors has concluded that the method is about as accurate as a coin toss.

As far as we know today, there is no reliable method to determine whether someone is lying. Throughout the ages, people have tried to distinguish truth from falsehood. Sometimes, they believed they had succeeded, but so far, no system has worked on a scientific basis. And that is absolutely true.

Narrator: Francisco Lacerda