Pinocchio is just a story for children, but the Spanish scientists of the University of Granada have recently discovered what they called “Pinocchio effect”: they discovered that noses really change when we tell a lie, even if they do not get longer: actually slightly shorten.
Emilio Gómez Milán and his team have developed a test that uses thermography to understand if people were lying and found that every time the participants in their search told a lie, the temperature of the tip of the nose also decreased by 1.2°C, while the temperature of their forehead increased by 1.5°C. The researcher also found that the drop in temperature at the nose also leads to a slight reduction in size, although the difference is not detectable to the naked eye.
To carry out the study, the researchers asked 60 students to perform various activities while they were scanned using thermal imaging. One of these tasks was to make a 3 to 4 minute call to their parents, partners or friends and tell a meaningful lie. The participants had to invent the lie during the call and the cameras detected this “reverse Pinocchio effect” caused by the temperature variation in the nose and forehead.