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New tech tracks eyes to expose lies

Eye lie detector

Have you ever asked someone, “Hey, look me in the eye and tell me that?”

It turns out that eyes can expose lies.

A Utah tech company has capitalized on that with a product that’s being used to screen law enforcement job candidates in the United States and other countries.

Converus is the company. The technology is called EyeDetect. It’s a way to detect lies in just 30 minutes — much faster than a polygraph exam.

“When a human being is being deceptive, there are these micro-dilations of the pupils. It's the extra mental energy that it takes to be deceptive,” said Converus Vice President Neal Harris.

How accurate is it?

EyeDetect uses a high-definition infrared tracking camera to take 60 measurements a second of involuntary behavior in each eye. That includes pupil dilation, blink rate and other eye movements.

Laboratory and field diagnostic studies show an 86% accuracy rate for EyeDetect results and an 87% accuracy rate for polygraph results.

Ron Slay is a security consultant who administers polygraph exams. He says he's seen all forms of deception during his 40 years in the business.

He thinks it takes more than a computer system, and answering a few questions, to detect a lie.

"You can't automate the human mind,” said Ron Slay the owner of Western Security Consultants.

Reporter Gabby Hart, from our sister station KSNV-TV in Las Vegas, put both methods to the test---starting with the polygraph.

Slay asked her two questions that were simple enough to answer honestly.

“I want everyone to watch the blue line. Is today Tuesday? Hart: “Yes.”

But, before he finished asking her the third question, the polygraph reacted.

Slay asked another question.

“At work, did you ever look at a boss with sincere eyes when you knew…. the reaction is already over. It took off and it’s barely coming back again.

Time to test EyeDetect. Harris had Gabby write down a number between two and eight and hide it. She chose the number seven.

Harris told her to lie about her number. But he told her to tell the truth on all the other questions, as EyeDetect monitored her eyes.

Both tests caught Gabby either lying, or preparing to lie.

Slay says it can be harder to catch people lying because they have their own truths.

“You find out deep into a polygraph they're not really answering your question at all, they're answering what they perceive to be your questions,” Slay said.

Slay and Harris agree that both technologies can get it wrong sometimes.

"There will be some false positives and false negatives with EyeDetect as it exists today,” Harris said.

Who’s using it?

Police departments in Salt Lake, Boise and Kent, Washington, among others, are using EyeDetect for employment screening. So far, no organizations in Alabama are using the new technology.

Federal law prevents most private employers from using lie detector tests for pre-employment or employment screenings.

But certain security and pharmaceutical-related companies can use lie detector tests for employment screening.

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