Nomination Klokhuis science prize 2020

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Ronald Poppe (Utrecht University) and I have been nominated for the annual Klokhuis wetenschapsprijs 2020, a science price for research that is relevant for children. Do you think this research deserves more attention? You can vote here until November 13th, 2020.

We conducted a large-scale deception experiment at Nemo science museum Amsterdam. We tested whether people are better at detecting the lies and truths of people they know, compared to people they don’t know. And whether people who are better at lying, are also better at detecting the lies of others. In other words, does it take one to know one? In general, we investigated what makes a good liar, and what makes a good lie detector?

To this end, people from all ages (5-74) participated in our experiment with their friends and family. For each participant, we recorded a truth and a lie on video. Next, they completed a questionnaire about demographics, personality, characteristics that theoretically should make them a good liar, their lies in daily life, their experiences lying during the experiment and their experiences detecting lies. Results show that it doesn’t matter too much whether you’re a boy or a girl, or young or old. Most participants were pretty bad at detecting lies. Only siblings (brothers and sisters) were better at detecting each other’s lies than other family members and strangers. The best liars are people who judged themselves to be charismatic speakers. Here you can find the ranking of the best liars and best lie detectors based on our experiment.

Our research received significant attention in the media. You can learn more about our research and nomination at: Spraakmakers at NPO radio 1, RTV Rijnmond,, Erasmus University, Erasmus School of Economics, and Utrecht University.