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Garry Platt


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“The Eyes Don’t Have It: Lie Detection and Neuro-Linguistic Programming”


A recent paper published last month on the issue of eye accesing clues. Available to access here:

Citation: Wiseman R, Watt C, ten Brinke L, Porter S, Couper S-L, et al. (2012) The Eyes Don’t Have It: Lie Detection and Neuro-Linguistic Programming. PLoS ONE 7(7): e40259. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0040259

Editor: Markus Lappe, University of Muenster, Germany

Received: February 2, 2012; Accepted: June 4, 2012; Published: July 11, 2012

Copyright: © 2012 Wiseman et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Funding: No external funding for this study.

Competing interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

11 Responses

  1. Yes but…

    Isn’t this a bit like Ghosts, Loch Ness Monster, Fairies and Astrology?

    You can find "research" to fit in with your own views on just about anything?

    "Because it was popular on Google, and on YouTube, they decided they had a sound starting point for their research.

    I just checked Google for “the earth is flat” and got 2,900,000 results while “aliens live amongst us” got 32.5 million results"

  2. Google

    It’s evident that some NLP practioners DO make this claim, and the implication by Pegasus that this piece of research is based on claims that are NOT made by NLP practioners fails the reality test. Another interesting critique of this recently published paper can be found here where the same theme is followed:

    I do agree however that some aspects of NLP (eye accessing) is very much like ‘Ghosts, Loch Ness Monster, Fairies and Astrology’.

  3. Yes but…

    Yes but maybe you like the outcomes of this research because it fits in with your own views of NLP?

    Isn’t that a bit like people who read the Daily **** because they believe the country is full of scroungers? It just reinforces what they like to think of as the truth?


  4. Evidence

    If the "evidence" suggested "the eyes have it"…

    a) Maybe you wouldn’t have looked for it

    b) Maybe you wouldnt have published it here with such enthusiasm

    There is an Internet World full of people trying to find evidence and research to back up their prejudices. Always best to keep an open mind I think, the world is not that simple!

  5. Carl Sagan Quote

    “It pays to keep an open mind, but not so open your brains fall out.”

  6. MASH

    “Begin challenging your own assumptions. Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in awhile, or the light won’t come in.”


    Alan Alda

  7. Here we go again

    “Intellectual discourse and investigation is admittedly great fun but only truly meaningful when conducted in the service of others.”

  8. Eyes and lies

    An interesting bit of research. Like most such studies it has a narrow scope but it is probably right to question whether some of the claims made about specific eye movements revealing a lie stand up to scrutiny.

    For me there is a surprisingly obvious factor that seems to have been missed from both sides of the fence. It is the presumption that when someone lies, or is about to lie, they seek to construct a visual image. Lies are most commonly expressed verbally and it doesn’t seem unreasonable to me to consider that the person’s effort may go into some form of verbal/emotional construction based on remebering a rehearsed lie, half truth, pondering over exact wording, panic, guilt and so on. Even if the test is carefully constructed to promote a visual response, almost anything can trigger an unconcious memory, such as when I last lied like this or of a close friend who also used those words or spoke in that tone. Add to that that someone telling the truth may also construct a visual image, such as how shall I respond to this, and it becomes obvious than this is a more complex and muddy area than is often portrayed.

    I have no evidence one way or the other, nor any axe to grind, but I tend to favour intelligent scepticism in the face of bold claims of a definitive connection between specific eye movements and lying. Some connection there may well be, and we should continue to investigate it, but we’d do well to remember the wonderously complex and often mysterious workings of the human condition.

    Maybe the next research should be in the Basque region for if there is truth in the claim that they have different eye movements that might reveal the causal link. Or am I lying? (At this point my eyes are neither up, down, left nor right; they are looking at the screen!)


  9. Christopher Hitchens
    Graham, my own view on this particular issue is best expressed by Christopher Hitchens;

    ‘That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence.’

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Garry Platt

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