Deception is a complex cognitive activity, and different types of lies could arise from different neural systems. We investigated this possibility by first classifying lies according to two dimensions, whether they fit into a coherent story and whether they were previously memorized. fMRI revealed that well-rehearsed lies that fit into a coherent story elicit more activation in right anterior frontal cortices than spontaneous lies that do not fit into a story, whereas the opposite pattern occurs in the anterior cingulate and in posterior visual cortex. Furthermore, both types of lies elicited more activation than telling the truth in anterior prefrontal cortices (bilaterally), the parahippocampal gyrus (bilaterally), the right precuneus, and the left cerebellum. At least in part, distinct neural networks support different types of deception.
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