1. We are researching the psychological process of creative lying and its neurological relationship to other forms of improvisation.

2. Deception and lying is part of being human. Scientists have found that animals with larger neocortices have more capability of deception than those who do not. Deception is not only convincing someone else that something has happened, but in order for us to lie we have to convince ourselves of that truth as well.

Scientists have been studying how to detect when someone is lying. The notion is that the current polygraph is not doing a very good job at the moment, and people want something more sophisticated. Scientists that have been using fMRI have found areas of the brain that light up in some of the same areas as improvisation. Another finding is that areas are lighting up in the parietal lobe. Other scientists are using EEG with 128 probes and others are using facial expression recognition as giveaways for liars.

Lying as a form of improvisation appears to be largely unaddressed, though there has been a great deal of research on its psychological, neurological, and social aspects. There has also been research the processes at work in oral storytelling, which we had planned to tie into the creativity of story manufacturing and imagination. It might be useful to use imagination as a larger topic, and relate it more specifically to topics such as lying, storytelling, and conversation. There has also been a lot of research on the psychological and improvisational aspects of children’s play, which also ties into this topic.


Livingstone-Smith, D. (2005). Natural-Born Liars. Scientific American Mind, 16(2), 16-23. Retrieved April 28, 2013, from http://web.ebscohost.com/ehost/detail?sid=ff8d9ec6-62a7-4a99-ac8c-1789d07a6a4c%40sessionmgr110&vid=1&hid=123&bdata=J#db=aph&AN=17092526

This article talks about how humans are natural born liars. This is an evolutionary adaptation that has come about so that we as a species and individual can survive and pass on our genes. We have come to be able to lie so easily because we are able to lie to ourselves or convince ourselves that the lie is actually truth.

Marantz Henig, R. (2006, February 5). Looking for the Lie. New York Times, 155(5348), 46-83. Retrieved April 29, 2013

This article I found quite interesting. It discussed how difficult it is to detect a liar and the new studies that people are doing to try and detect lying. There are studies using fMRI, EEG and facial expression detection. She discusses each one sort of in depth, and how each of the detection works. Towards the end she discusses that we are not really that close, and if we had the technology to detect liars, how can we detect the malicious ones from the small ones people tell every day. Finally she discussed how if we had this technology, society would change because no one could keep secrets to themselves and would always have to be honest.

Turner, S. (1994). The creative process: A computer model of storytelling and creativity. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.

This is an interesting book regarding the theoretical creation of computerized storytelling models, which seemed consistent and relevant to the models of musical improvisation. It presents creativity as a form of problem-solving.

Walczyk, J., Runco, M., Tripp, S., & Smith, C. (2008). The creativity of lying: Divergent thinking and ideational correlates of the resolution in social dilemmas. Creativity Research Journal, 20(3), 328-42. Retrieved April 28, 2013, from http://web.ebscohost.com/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=63f493ee-15cf-4d82-9c48-6987329a9466%40sessionmgr114&vid=2&hid=103

This article explores the creativity that underlies deception, and contains study results of how college students responded inventively to different social dilemmas. The study focused on whether divergent thinking or ideation was more effective in creating a lie.