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Neuroscience and Society Series: To Tell the Truth!

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Truth and lying are complicated neurological behaviors. Although the role of the visual cortex and other areas of the brain are being identified, and their functions clarified, it is not likely that there is a “truth” center in the brain or a “lying” center. Scientists try to identify neurological correlates of truth-telling and lying in the laboratory, but it is not known if any findings of this type are operative in real life. This program will examine three important real-life aspects of truth and lying. First, are we born with the ability to understand the concept of truth and lying? Victoria Talwar will discuss the childhood development of a sense of lying and truth-telling. Second, do our “minds” know what is true and what is false? Elizabeth Loftus will describe the phenomenon of so-called repressed memories and how it is possible for someone to be convinced they are telling the truth when they are not. Finally, what do we know about people who are consistent liars? Charles Dike will explore the nature of pathological lying and why some people lie seemingly without purpose.

This event is co-sponsored  by the International Neuroethics Society.

Victoria Talwar
Professor Educational and Counselling Psychology
McGill University

Elizabeth Loftus
Distinguished Professor of Social Ecology, and Professor of Law, and Cognitive Science
University of California, Irvine

Charles Dike
Associate Program Director of Law and Psychiatry Fellowship Program
Yale University