Cognitive neuroscience of honesty and deception: A signaling framework

Curr Opin Behav Sci. 2016 Oct:11:130-137. doi: 10.1016/j.cobeha.2016.09.005.


Understanding the neural basis of human honesty and deception has enormous potential scientific and practical value. However, past approaches, largely developed out of studies with forensic applications in mind, are increasingly recognized as having serious methodological and conceptual shortcomings. Here we propose to address these challenges by drawing on so-called signaling games widely used in game theory and ethology to study behavioral and evolutionary consequences of information transmission and distortion. In particular, by separating and capturing distinct adaptive problems facing signal senders and receivers, signaling games provide a framework to organize the complex set of cognitive processes associated with honest and deceptive behavior. Furthermore, this framework provides novel insights into feasibility and practical challenges of neuroimaging-based lie detection.