Increased Motor Cortex Excitability for Concealed Visual Information

Aviad A. Hadar, Avi Lazarovits, Kielan Yarrow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Deceptive behavior involves complex neural processes involving the primary motor cortex. The dynamics of this motor cortex excitability prior to lying are still not well understood. We sought to examine whether corticospinal excitability can be used to suggest the presence of deliberately concealed information in a modified version of the guilty knowledge test (GKT). Participants pressed keys to either truthfully or deceitfully indicate their familiarity with a series of faces. Motor-evoked potentials (MEPs) were recorded during response preparation to measure muscle-specific neural excitability. We hypothesized that MEPs would increase during the deceptive condition not only in the lie-telling finger but also in the suppressed truth-telling finger. We report a group-level increase in overall corticospinal excitability 300 ms following stimulus onset during the deceptive condition, without specific activation of the neural representation of the truth-telling finger. We discuss cognitive processes, particularly response conflict and/or automated responses to familiar stimuli, which may drive the observed nonspecific increase of motor excitability in deception.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)286-295
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Psychophysiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2018


  • deception
  • guilty knowledge test (GKT)
  • lie detection
  • motor cortex excitability
  • motor-evoked potential (MEP)
  • transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience (all)
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Physiology


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