That’s the plain and painful truth.
In the increasingly dark times we live in, we need to practice spiritual jujitsu or self-defense, and hone our ability to discern when someone is lying to us, especially if that someone is a politician because the lies will affect our lives, negatively.
Pamela Meyer is the author of the book, LieSpotting: Proven Techniques to Detect Deception. In this TED lecture in 2011, she offers many very useful tips on how to spot a liar.
Below are the notes I took from the video. [Words between brackets colored teal are mine.]
Some Facts About Lying
- On any given day, we lie or are lied to from 10 to 200 times.
- Lying is a cooperative act: A lie is effective only when another cooperates with it because it’s something we want. That is why although we say we’re against lying, covertly (secretly) we’re for it.
- We lie 3 times within 10 minutes of meeting a stranger.
- We lie more to strangers than to people we know.
- Extraverts lie more than introverts. [Politicians are extraverts!]
- Men lie 8 times more about themselves than women; women lie more to protect others.
- We lie once in every 10 interactions with our spouse. The number drops to 3 in interactions with an unmarried partner.
- The more intelligent the species, the larger the cerebral cortex, the more likely is the species to be deceptive. That suggests lying has an evolutionary advantage.
- Human beings lie from the very beginning [Original Sin: We are born tinder for sin (fomes peccati)]:
- Babies already deceive: They fake a cry, then pause and watch to see if anyone buys their fake crying.
- One-year-olds know how to conceal.
- Two-year-olds bluff.
- Five-year-olds lie outright, e.g., they manipulate with flattery.
- Nine-year-olds have mastered the coverup.
- By college age, humans like to their parents in one out of 5 interactions.
- By the time we enter the working world, we’re immersed in lies and deception.
Lie Spotting: How to Spot a Liar
There are two patterns [or modes] of deception: Speech and Body Language.
- Non-contracted denial: A denial that is over-determined, i.e., employs formal, instead of informal, language to deny, e.g., Bill Clinton said “I did not have sex with that woman . . . Miss Lewinsky.”
- Distancing language: Use of language that (unconsciously) distances the speaker from the subject. Example: “I did not have sex with that woman.”
- Qualifying language: e.g., saying “to tell the truth” or “in all candor.”
- Repeating the question in its entirety. [My guess: this is a tactic to buy the liar more time to think of how to lie.]
- Over-sharing: Peppering one’s account with too much detail.
2. Body language:
Freud said, “No mortal can keep a secret. If his lips are silent, he chatters with his fingertips.”
- Liars, instead of fidgeting, actually freeze their upper bodies when they’re lying.
- Liars look you in the eye a little too much, to compensate for the myth that liars avoid eye contact.
- Liars smile a fake smile, i.e., they smile only with their mouth, but not with their eyes, which can’t be faked.
- Attitude: An honest person is cooperative, on your side; enthusiastic, willing and helpful in getting to the truth, willing to brainstorm, provide details; feels infuriated if falsely accused, not just in flashes but throughout the entire course of the interview or conversation; favors strict, instead of lenient punishment for transgressors. A deceptive person is withdrawn; looks down; lowers his voice; pauses; peppers his story with lots of and irrelevant details; tells the story in strict chronological order.
- Giveaway body language (beginning at 11:40 mark):
- Shaking our head when we say “yes” (e.g., Democrat VP candidate John Edwards, 12:00 to 12:30 mark in video).
- Shrugging our shoulders when we tell a convincing lie.
- Duping delight: Smiling with delight at getting away with a terrible crime (e.g., O. J. Simpson).
- Masked expression: Be on the lookout for spotting the real expression that’s masked or concealed by the fake expression, which leaks out in a flash, e.g., murderers often mask sadness. The most important and dangerous masked expression that we need to look out for is CONTEMPT, i.e., thinking oneself as being superior to others; regarding others with scorn. The masked expression of contempt is marked by one lip corner pulled up and in, e.g., Dick Cheney.
- Liars shift their eye-blink rate.
- Liars point their feet toward an exit.
- Liars put barrier objects between themselves and the person interviewing or conversing with them.
- Liars alter their vocal tone, often going much lower.
How to Spot a Truth-Teller: What the Truth Looks like
1. Liars: Meyer used a video of Diane Downs — a murderous mother who lied about shooting her kids at close range — and points to the discrepancy between Downs’ cool demeanor and a great tragedy. Even more telling is Downs’ creepy smile after talking about her children’s death — Duping Delight.
2. Truth-tellers: Meyer then contrasts the video of the lying mother with a video of Ellen Runnion — a grieving mother confronting her daughter’s murderer-torturer in court. Runnion showed no false emotion, but only the authentic raw emotion of a mother in agony.
Does this remind you of all the videos of the Sandy Hook parents whose children supposedly were killed by alleged mass murderer Adam Lanza? See:
- Crisis Acting or True Grief? – You Decide
- Sandy Hook dad goes from laughing to grieving in blink of an eye
See also “Lies are a hallmark of evil.“