Do Truth Serums Work?

Do Truth Serums Work?

Scopolamine was the first drug to be called a "truth serum," and was used in police interrogations in the 1920s and 1930s. But it's not the only alleged truth serum: pentothal, sodium amytal, and even plain old alcohol have all been rumored to make people confess true facts and feelings. TV journalist Michael Mosley even tested pentothal on himself to see if it would compel him to tell the truth. On a smaller dose, he was able to lie about his occupation. On a larger dose, he readily divulged what he did for a living, later explaining that it didn't even occur to him to lie.

06:31

Key Facts In This Video

  • 1

    Dr. Robert House claimed that scopolamine hydrobromide made people less inhibited and unable to conceal their reactions to certain statements. (1:06)

  • 2

    Subjects who were given sodium amytal have proven themselves capable of lying. (2:51)

  • 3

    A judge approved the use of sodium pentothal on mass shooter James Holmes to test his insanity defense. (4:32)

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