While most of the world simply takes what everyone else says at face value, there's always been a dark market for inconspicuous
for the overly paranoid, but researchers at Cornell University
are hoping to take lie-detection to the next level by carefully analyzing emails and SMS messages for fibs. In a three-year effort to "compile a list of indicators of written deception," the team drew from some "40 years of research in linguistics and lies, including recent work in the context of computer media and reviews of Enron emails." By carefully inspecting word choices, verb tenses, and a variety of other textual factors, the software can purportedly use "contextual parameters" to spot lies
, and they hope to market the goods to police agencies, upset spouses, and of course, corporate ethics committees.So if you're ever-so-suspicious significant other (or mischievous youngster) has just recently put down the Skype headset
in favor of pounding out emails, rest assured, help is on the way.
, image via Cornell