Part of the show Fireworks, Explosions and Chemistry
Forget polygraph tests to flush out a liar, criminals could soon be given away by their stomachs according to new research carried out at the University of Texas by Pankaj Pasricha and his colleagues. The team gave 16 volunteers an electrogastrogram (EGG for short), which sounds misleadingly like an email food greeting but is in fact a measurement of the nerve activity in the stomach. The subjects were asked to lie about some things, and tell the truth about others. Intriguingly, their stomach nerve activity shot up whenever they told a porky, but remained unchanged when they were honest, evidence, says Pasricha "that the gut has a mind of its own". Moreover, the team suggest that the addition of an EGG to a standard lie-detector test could help to improve the overall reliability of the test.