To celebrate the home entertainment release of INSURGENT, we take a deeper look into one of the most pivotal scenes in the film; the truth serum trial at Candor. Tris, played by Shailene Woodley, must convince the leader of Candor to trust her and convince him she is not the criminal that she is being made out to be.

From Amobarbital and Polygraphs and micro-expression, is there any real way to tell if someone’s lying? We explore further here.

Insurgent is available to download in digital HD on 21st July and on Blu-ray and DVD from 3rd August 2015, courtesy of Entertainment One.


Amobarbital is a drug that has sedative hypnotic properties, which means that the person taking it becomes very relaxed and information gets to your brain slower, which makes it harder for you to lie or keep up a story. A person under the influence of the drug will relay information that he or she would otherwise “block”. It has been used to convict alleged murderers such as Andres English-Howard, who strangled his girlfriend to death but claimed innocence. Turned out, he was not so innocent as after being administered the drug by his lawyer, he admitted to the killings. Recently, a Colorado judge approved the administration of the drug to be used on James Holmes; the man who shot 12 people at a Colorado screening of The Dark Night. This “truth serum” of sorts, has been used by the CIA as seen in the U.S Army and CIA interrogation manuals declassified by the Pentagon in 1996. This, is some serious stuff. So unless you want to spill all the dirty secrets you’ve been hiding, don’t go near this drug!


You’ve all seen movies; Polygraphs are the lie detector tests they use on pesky criminals. There is nothing to digest or inject but your blood pressure, pulse, respiration and skin conductivity are measured. Polygraphs are used for interrogation purposes whether it’s criminal suspects or candidates for sensitive public sector employment. Federal government agencies such as the FBI and the CIA as well as other departments like the LAPD and NYPD have also been known to use this. Here in the UK, our law enforcement agents are not permitted to use such techniques.


A micro expression is a brief, involuntary facial expression shown during specific emotion situations. They usually occur in high-stakes situations, where people have something to lose or gain. Micro expressions occur when a person is consciously trying to conceal all signs of how they are feeling or if they are trying to lie. Unlike regular facial expressions such as ‘I’m happy and smiling’ or ‘I’m sad and crying,’ it is difficult to hide micro expression reactions. We can’t control micro expressions as it happens in a fraction of a second, but it’s possible to capture someone’s expressions with a high-speed camera and replay them at slower speeds. Micro expressions express the six universal emotions: disgust, anger, fear, sadness, happiness, and surprise. Want to tell if your boyfriend or girlfriend is cheating on you? Take a look at these little tell-tell facial expressions which they can’t hide! If he didn’t come to your birthday and his lips starts to tremble when he tells you he lost track with the boys…don’t believe those lies! Although, don’t assume that every sweaty brow means something is going on. Sometimes people just sweat a lot.

Thiopental (Pentothal)

Thiopental (Pentothal) is still used in some places today as a truth serum. It basically weakens the resolve of the subject and makes them more compliant to pressure. It is the ultimate peer pressure drug, so if you are easily persuaded this will make things so much worse!  This drug tends to make subjects loquacious or in layman’s terms, a chatty Kathy, when it comes to interrogations. Sodium thiopental is featured as a truth serum in several Hollywood films and television series’, like True Lies, Valiant, and Red Dragon.


Electroencephalography is a non-invasive method to record electrical activity of the brain along the scalp –well, invasive electrodes are used in specific applications, so maybe not so unobtrusive. EEG measures voltage fluctuations resulting from ionic current within the neurons of the brain. Essentially, the neurons of the brain will fire, increase the voltage and tell whether you’re lying or not. If you think about it; it’s kind of a like a polygraph of the mind.

Now you know that there are ways to get the truth out of people – like Tris –but maybe don’t try any of these at home.



Insurgent is available now on Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray and DVD, courtesy of Entertainment One

About Author

Founder of Eclectic Enchantments blog, Erika has also been a beauty writer, fashion writer and Beauty & Accessories Editor for a large online magazine before starting Erisea. Erika lives with her dog, Hendrix and beautiful baby girl. She suffers with Fibromyalgia and CFS, among other illnesses which leaves her housebound much of the time. Her passion is writing.

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