Left-handers lose out in art of deception

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The Independent Online
Left-handed people are less good at telling when they are being lied to than right-handers, according to a scientist who enlisted the population of Yorkshire to establish his findings, writes Charles Arthur.

But other research has found that lying does not necessarily indicate advanced intelligence: children as young as two or three can be expert liars, the British Association was told yesterday.

The left-handed bias towards gullibility emerged in an experiment on Thursday night carried out by Yorkshire Television, which showed a programme in which a presenter told two contradictory stories about her childhood. Viewers then rang one of four phone numbers depending on their handedness and which story they thought was true. The result showed a significant difference between the two groups, said Dr Richard Wiseman of the University of Hertfordshire.

Among the 4,900 respondents, 66 per cent of left-handers spotted the lie, compared to 72.5 per cent of right-handers. The difference is statistically significant. "It may be because of brain function," said Dr Wiseman. "Right- handers predominantly use the left hemisphere more than left-handers, and the left hemisphere deals with language.

"It may also be perception of emotion: when the presenter was telling the truth she was more enthusiastic, and maybe right-handed people are better at picking up enthusiasm."

Humans begin working on the art of deception from a young age, the meeting was told by Dr Vasudevi Reddy of the University of Portsmouth. "Well before the age of four, we found children were lying, not just in simple ways, but using fairly complex tricks..." she said. "It's probably a mistake to assume that children need a clear idea of how minds work before lying. They are into the practice before they develop the theory."