Stanford University

Chancellor’s Letter: In the Zone

 When I heard that the theme for this edition of California magazine was play, my thoughts turned to music and sports. Both are forms of self-expression, closely linked in ways that are at once intuitive and surprising. We have many campus programs in each—another way we seek to embrace the fullest possible range of human endeavors and do justice to the essential meaning of “University.”

From the Winter 2018 Play issue of California.

Catching the Brain in a Lie: Is “Mind Reading” Deception Detection Sci-Fi—or Science?

Ever since the inception of our species, humans have wanted to peer inside each other’s minds. A major reason we want to do this is because we lie. We lie a lot, and on the whole, we are quite good at it. The capacity for deception is possibly one of the most significant cognitive gifts we received through evolution.

But it turns out that we lack an equal genius for spotting deception. Instead we keep trying to capitalize on technology—hoping it can do the detecting for us.

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