Simply put, people who are adept at lying have slightly more complex brain structures than people not used to lying. This time, scientists, using magnetic structural imaging to map the brains of liars, have discovered an anatomic finding supporting this hypothesis.
Pathologic liars have more nerve fibers, and their nerve interconnections are far more complex than the traffic here in Metro Manila during rush hour.
So fascinating is this discovery, that psychologist Adrian Raine, the lead scientist on the study commented that:
"It is not easy to lie. It is certainly more difficult than telling the truth. Some people have a biological advantage in lying. It gives them a slight edge."
I suggest we do a magnetic structural imaging of the brains of politicians, lawyers, and salesmen. No offense meant, ok? I'm just curious how complicated their brain structures are.
People who habitually lie and cheat --- pathological liars --- appear to have much more white matter, which speeds communication between neurons, in the prefrontal cortex than normal people, the researchers found. They also have fewer actual neurons.
The differences affect a portion of the brain, located just behind the forehead, that enables people to feel remorse, learn moral behavior, and plan complex strategies.
The surplus of connections between neurons might enable these people to be more adept at the complex neural networking that underlies deceit.
Lying is hard work and these brains may be better equipped to handle it, the researchers said.
[LA Times Medicine, Sept 30 2005]
The abstract of the original study can be read here.