Your Stomach Cannot Tell a Lie

Lying really gets the juice flowing, according to a new study that suggests changes in gastric physiology perform better than standard polygraph methods in distinguishing between lying and telling the truth.

The upshot: mental stress does indeed affect your stomach.

The University of Texas study, announced yesterday at a meeting of the American College of Gastroenterology, shows a clear link between the act of lying and a significant increase in gastric arrhythmia, researchers said.

They tested 16 volunteers using electrogastrogram (EGG) and electrocardiogram (EKG) recordings.

Both lying and truth telling affected cardiac symptoms, while lying was also associated with gastric symptoms. The EGG showed a significant decrease in the percentage of normal gastric "slow waves" when the subject was lying that corresponded to a significant increase in the average heart rate during the same situation, the scientists report.

"We concluded that the addition of the EGG to standard polygraph methods has clear value in improving the accuracy of current lie detectors," said study leader Pankaj Pasricha. "The communication between the big brain and the little brain in the stomach can be complex and merits further study."