Can a drug make you tell the truth?

This interesting article in the BBC news magazine looks into the possibility of creating a ‘truth serum’ – a drug which forces the user to tell the truth.

Sodium thiopental, a drug which was first developed as an anaesthetic, has often been coined as such a serum, It’s thought that it works in a similar way to alcohol, making more complicated mental activities such as lying much more difficult, lowering the inhibitions of the user.

The writer of this article, Michael Mosley, tested the drug out on himself, under proper medical supervision. First off, he find he could lie, albeit very unconvincingly, showing the similarity of the drug to alcohol. However, when the dose was increased, he found himself stating the truth, and didn’t even consider lying. Whether the drug actually prevented him from lying, or just lowered his inhibitions enough to not care either way, is unclear.

The results aren’t conclusive, but it makes for an interesting read, and brings up an interesting research topic that many people might not be aware of. The search for a ‘truth serum’ is definitely ongoing, and the consequences of a reliable and successful one being synthesised could be phenomenal.


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