Lie Detection And Conspiracy Theories: The Week’s Best Psychology Links

Our weekly round-up of the best psychology coverage from elsewhere on the web

An interview technique known as “Asymmetric Information Management” provides a pretty effective way to spot liars, writes researcher Cody Porter at The Conversation. The method basically involves explaining to the interviewee that it will be easier to figure out if they are lying or telling the truth if they provide longer, more detailed statements, Porter explains. Liars will tend to withhold information to try and hide their lie, while truth-tellers will provide detailed information as requested.

Earlier this year, a Guardian article explored why some video game players choose to invert their controls, so that pressing “up” makes their character look downwards. Now, inspired by the heated debate that followed, psychologists Jennifer Corbett and Jaap Munneke have decided to study the phenomenon in more detail, as Keith Stuart reports.

We often think that experiencing set-backs and failures will make eventual success seem even sweeter — but that may not always be true, writes researcher Hallgeir Sjåstad at Scientific American. People who were told they performed poorly on a “practice” cognitive test predicted that they would feel less happiness or pride if they scored highly on the real test, compared to those who were told they performed well at practice. However, all participants showed equally high happiness when they actually received a top score.

A new paper argues that both severe stress and psycheledic drugs can produce “pivotal mental states”, during which our personality and mental health are more prone to changing. These states are neither good nor bad in themselves but can lead to positive or negative outcomes depending on the context in which they occur, writes Neuroskeptic, who examines the paper with a critical eye over at Discover Magazine.

This year has seen its fair share of conspiracy theories — but what’s the best way to respond to someone who is sharing misinformation?  At The Observer, David Robson explains five forms of faulty reasoning that often underlie conspiracy theories, and how to respond to them.

Delirium is believed to worsen cognitive decline and increase the risk of developing dementia. But it is also a common symptom of severe Covid-19. So could the virus raise the risk of developing long-term neurocognitive problems? At Nature, Carrie Arnold talks to the researchers who are trying to find out.  

Compiled by Matthew Warren (@MattbWarren), Editor of BPS Research Digest