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The dangers of social hubris.... "How to tell when someone's lying"

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posted on May, 11 2011 @ 02:17 PM
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The esteemed editor of the popular website Kurzweil submitted an article How to tell when somone's lying.

The tips in the short article are said to be based upon the studies of Professor of psychology R. Edward Geiselman, who teaches at the University of California, Los Angeles.

The article, interestingly, seems to indicate that this cited credential lends credence to the professors expertise, but fails to mention that the professor is an employee of "The Institute of Analytic Interviewing", a California-consultant firm specializing in training law enforcement how to detect lies while "interviewing" .... people. The good doctor has testified several hundred times as an expert witness in regards to testimony and veracity.

In my opinion, the crux of this notion is among the collection of malignant myths which plague our society.

As a preface, I would like to point out some great reinforcement the doctor and those teaching this idea have. The media has many shows where forensic specialists and people-reading wizards solve dastardly mysteries in the most entertaining manner. Some of these shows (like "Lie to me") are extremely entertaining making any suspension of disbelief worthwhile. The reasoning goes like this, a well trained attentive and critical thinker can, by observation alone, determine the genuine emotional content within the words spoken by another. They can, by cataloging behavior, use a mechanistic interpretation of subtle cues to tell when a person is straying from an account of fact to one of fabrication.

I would accept that in the world of Hollywood there are superheroes out there who can tell if someone is lying; but in the real world, believing that is not only naive, it's dangerous. It can lead to tragic accusations and consequences for people who do not merit the kind of treatment they are bound to receive, simply because some vainglorious officiate is allowed to proclaim he or she 'can tell' when people lie.

I am not going to delve into mysticism or metaphysics here. So let's discount 'psychic hunches' and nebulous indefinable 'instinct' which seems to suffer abuse in any discussion regarding this topic.

Allow me to touch on some examples which demonstrate my intense rejection of the idea that anyone can ever feel confident that there is a 'way' or 'method' to tell if someone is lying.

(I cannot resist the observation that the article appears to me to be a 'hook' into the current fascinating and sensation public attention given to 'terrorist' threats and Osama bin Laden's demise. Making the baser part of me wonder aloud if they are not trying to drum up business on the heels of anxiety.)


When questioned, deceptive people generally want to say as little as possible.


What this tidy meme engenders is the understanding that when interviewed by an authority figure if you do not blather on as if at a cocktail party, you must be practicing deceptive communication. Or perhaps that all people of a reserved and introspective and concise verbal style are potential criminals. Also, those who are intimidated and fearful MUST be lying, otherwise they would be spewing a never-ending stream of information for the interviewer. Of course the interviewer could never be disliked, and therefore the interviewee must be holding back. This particular generalization discounts the subjects culture, background, upbringing, social status, personal nature, and emotional state - as well as the interviewers personal drive....

For some reason the author thought to include this statement at the end of the segment about this....


Geiselman’s investigative interviewing techniques are designed to get people to talk.


What this implies of course is that all people respond equally to the 'technique' which apparently is presupposed to "always" get "any" person to talk.

The author adds that "deceptive people" (we've finally identified the underlying meme) spontaneously justify what they say without prompting.

The first troublesome aspect of this is that we are entering the 'interview' with an understanding that the subject may be among those he categorizes as 'deceptive people.' Again, it seems clear that volunteering information is a sign of deception, while personal restraint and brevity is also a sign of deceptive tendencies. In either case, suspicion of intent to deceive becomes 'justified.' Disingenuous investigators and the occasional strong-arm police officers must like that one.

"First the suspect would only answer in brief sentences... then he started to explain what he said before I asked him to .... it was all too suspicious ..."

The technique of Dr. Geiselman is to also point out when subjects repeat questions asked of them; offering two reasons behind the behavior: 1) perhaps to give themselves time to concoct an answer. and 2) to read you to see if you are buying their story.

If one is of the slow-speaking kind... like about half of all non-euro-white cultures, you are obviously going to end up on the 'suspicious' list aren't you? Also, there's the small blessing of those cultures who view watching the person you are talking to as rude and confrontational... so at least they won't be accused of trying to 'read' the interviewer..... But I think trying to get an understanding of how someone is perceiving what you are telling them is roughly half of the communicative experience, so there's another guaranteed way for people who think the way I do to land on the 'suspicious' list.


They (liars) tend to use sentence fragments more frequently than truthful people; often, they will start an answer, back up and not complete the sentence.


Again, the imposition of such a 'rule' of observation virtually guarantees that you can be considered suspicious no matter how you answer... hesitate, try to answer deliberately and ensure you are making the point you wish to make and you are a potential liar.... speak an a solid stream of fluid conversation and appear to have rehearsed your story.... again.. perfect for those who are 'certain' they are questioning the right person...


They are more likely to press their lips when asked a sensitive question and are more likely to play with their hair or engage in other “grooming” behaviors. Gesturing toward one’s self with the hands tends to be a sign of deception; gesturing outwardly is not.


This is one of the more outrageous assertions to make, unless you specify that a huge portion of the human population engages in this behavior according to their own cultural and social standards, thus any such generalizations virtually ensure the imposition of a judgement made by a white guy about American students and convicts .... not 'people' in general.

The 'wisdom' this article shares dives deeper into trouble as the assert flatly that truthful people when challenged about details, will often deny that they are lying and explain even more, while deceptive people generally will not provide more specifics. As if the lack of more specifics is a damning piece of evidence.

Ultimately I see a construct here, one that empowers the interviewer to 'decide' whether the subject will be subjected to more intense scrutiny .. and it has nothing to do with the truth or lies... it's about the perception of the interviewer and how people like this doctor, mainstream media, and certain law enforcement institutions want us to believe that there is a magic bullet to detect lies.

For decades it has been known that the 'infallible' polygraph was not in anyway shape or form 'infallible'. This truth was so much in evidence that courts will not exonerate a suspect based upon polygraph results (although prosecutors continue to use them 'against' the suspect with impunity.) This is yet another one-way construct to allow for the mechanical acceptance of reasonable suspicion, taught to thousands of people, and validated by meme repetition and media productions.

People can lie. People can lie so well that not even a machine can tell. People can control their physiology, very gifted people can tell you the truth and virtually convince you they are lying. It can even be done to machines.

The idea that because someone doesn't look you in the eye, or have a firm handshake, or never gestures outwardly, or speaks slowly, or hardly at all... these are traits, not indicators. This psychologist is lucky that he and his colleagues are sending a message authoritarians love to hear, and desperately want us to believe.

"You can't lie to us..., we'll know." - That is a lie.

If you really believe that these techniques work... do you dare live by them? I hope not, because you may die for them. The most dangerous people in the world can lie to anyone without a single hitch in their 'story' and no amount of cookie-cutter pop psychology can change that. But don't tell the California police departments that dish out millions for the training, all based on a presumption that is far from realistic.

I would continue, but I suspect that many will want to refute my statements here.... if for no other reason than to assuage their fear that there is no infallible way to tell if someone is lying.... but I'm sorry to say, the right person with the right lie will invariably sail past you unnoticed... it is the way it is.




posted on May, 11 2011 @ 02:28 PM
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I wonder if there is a technique to seeing through lies when you only have access to text such as on a site as this!?!

There must be someone doing research on this also.
Excuse me while I go look around. . .

Great thread S&F!



posted on May, 11 2011 @ 02:29 PM
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reply to post by Maxmars
 


Fascinating read!

I wholeheartily agree that 'teaching' someone how to tell when someone is lying is a very dangerous practice. I'm sure many innocent people have lost their freedoms due to an investigator believing a man is lying based off this training they received. Such examples that you've pointed out are downright scary. For instance,' if your suspect is quite & scared they must he lying because they are scared & don't want to admit much'. First of all, its always scary when your being questioned, especially if your at their station, but it also could be said that a chatty person is nervous or running from the truth, dancing around, so to speak. So many different sides of perspection. What's really scary is this training only gives absolutes, a + b = c everytime, when a true investigator should look at all sides to a story and stop worrying about whether they are being lied too.
edit on 11-5-2011 by Swills because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 11 2011 @ 02:30 PM
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Great post, however because you posted this on a conspiracy website where people habitually lie, I'm sure that you are lying.

Also you did not gesture at all. Liar.



posted on May, 11 2011 @ 02:34 PM
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YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY CORRECT! Thank you for not being s gullible as 90% of the population that buys this pseudoscience. Thanks for getting the word out here.



posted on May, 11 2011 @ 02:40 PM
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This would'nt apply to someone who is socially enept....it's quite common among many with biological disorders to appear nervous when they are not and most don't have eye contact.

For someone who is a sociopathic liar, more rules apply as they are usually better equipped and more professional liars.
edit on 11-5-2011 by bluemirage5 because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 11 2011 @ 02:41 PM
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Originally posted by Glass
Great post, however because you posted this on a conspiracy website where people habitually lie, I'm sure that you are lying.

Also you did not gesture at all. Liar.


LOL.... busted!

Dang it... next time I have to remember to gesture, or not... or ... wait.... lying is so confusing!



posted on May, 11 2011 @ 03:01 PM
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reply to post by Maxmars
 


Blah, more law enforcement mumbo jumbo.
I have seen courses that you can pay to attend that will teach you how to determine if someone is lying, which honestly is a waste of money (which is supposedly using the same techniques as the CIA/FBI, etc). I personally would be exhausted of being so flipping suspicious of people that it turns into a nasty habit of studying a person instead of enjoying your conversation/time with them.

Besides, if they are such human lie detectors how is it innocent people still end up on death row?
What a wonderful to way to promote hell on earth



posted on May, 11 2011 @ 03:41 PM
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Maxmars I disagree with you. It is almost a science, but it takes practice. Playing alot of poker, I have had to study tells and body language. Why do you think so many poker players try to hide their eyes? There are beginners and experts so it takes practice. You also need to know the personality. For instance a person who feels guilt about lying may continually look down when being deceptive. Another will try to stare you down because they know thats what you are looking for.

I will give you two examples of recent deception witnessed on television. Obama's recent interview on 60 MIn, concerning Bin Laden, shows that he was deceptive. One clue is all the blinking. Panetta also gave an interview on PBS and he also was deceptive. The clues for him was also alot of blinking and looking down. He also tried to appear relaxed which is a reverse tell for him, since he is in the intelligence field.



posted on May, 11 2011 @ 03:53 PM
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reply to post by BillfromCovina
 


I can't say that I am comfortable with the notion of 'tells' outside of a strictly defined set of circumstances... crimes and such not being among them.

I do know that poker and other house games involving card holding does bely my premise. But that is a very narrowly defined arena for the skill.

When we are talking about it being applied by every tom, dick, and harry that carries a baton and a badge - confronting a vast array of people in extremely unique circumstances I think it can all fall apart.

I once witnessed the railroading of an extremely humble native American from Honduras. He was judged by investigators using the Euro-centric modalities of expression (such as those taught by our 'experts' here in the US) - making him an easy "collar" for those involved. It was a travesty that nearly cost the young boy dearly. Fortunately others of a less mechanical mindset forced a review of the situation which revealed that all the boys 'tells' were erroneously interpreted or directly 'construed' into something they weren't .... much to the chagrin of the investigators who insist their methods are "scientific."

Taken individually, "tells" have value... but interviewer intent, bias, and predisposition are equally weighty in the matter and seem to be excluded from studies by those who serve the authoritarian purpose which is often to say... "In my judgement I find you suspicious" which then justifies all manner of behavior repugnant to those who believe in presumed innocence; and believe nothing about 'expedience' in prosecution should be taken lightly.



posted on May, 11 2011 @ 04:02 PM
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I know of only one way to detect a lie. Common sense. If your common sense dosn't reveal a lie then you can't assume there is a one. You can still suspect the person is lieing. But you will have to go a different route other than questioning them to find out about it.



posted on May, 11 2011 @ 04:06 PM
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reply to post by Maxmars
 


When questioned, deceptive people generally want to say as little as possible.


So will anyone that knows a bit about the law.... Never talk to the damn cops without a lawyer if you are being investigated, advice from a criminal attorney.


Geiselman’s investigative interviewing techniques are designed to get people to talk.

See above advice.


They (liars) tend to use sentence fragments more frequently than truthful people; often, they will start an answer, back up and not complete the sentence.

I wonder if they count when the rude bastards are firing off questions without letting you fully answer



They are more likely to press their lips when asked a sensitive question and are more likely to play with their hair or engage in other “grooming” behaviors. Gesturing toward one’s self with the hands tends to be a sign of deception; gesturing outwardly is not.

Known signs of nervousness, and most people are nervous around cops.... Especially if they are under suspicion....



posted on May, 11 2011 @ 04:09 PM
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reply to post by Maxmars
 


Maxmars, I agree with you in that it should not be used to prove innocence or guilt for law enforcement or the Judicial system. It is a very good tool to help determine the truth when dealing with people including law enforcement.



posted on May, 11 2011 @ 04:22 PM
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reply to post by BillfromCovina
 


Problem is, it is used to determine if someone is worth investigating. And being investigated, means you will need to hire a lawyer, which costs more than most people can afford. And if you cannot afford an attorney, you have a high chance of being tricked and railroaded.
edit on Wed, 11 May 2011 16:23:21 -0500 by TKDRL because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 11 2011 @ 04:25 PM
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reply to post by Maxmars
 


Excellent read and so true. And with the great push for education from the Obama administration, people are beginning to make an assumption that simply because something is taught, that means that it's verified or scientifically proven; and that because someone holds a degree, that somehow makes their statements, judgments and decisions more credible or to a higher humane/moral standard than those without. Through this popular misconception people are easily controlled...

Not only this, but statistics are used in similar ways. "95% of people who do that are criminals" so you are a criminal. In fact, let's not even roll a dice, the odds are against you.

It's like playing a game of Russian Roulette with 4 bullets and saying "you have a 66.66% chance of dying so let's not even play the game, the probability dictates that you are already dead so come with me, you must now be euthanized."

And in addition to all of the above, these methods of 'lie detection' being public knowledge, doesn't that completely make the application of using the microexpression test null?



posted on May, 11 2011 @ 04:41 PM
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Originally posted by AnteBellum
I wonder if there is a technique to seeing through lies when you only have access to text such as on a site as this!?!

There must be someone doing research on this also.
Excuse me while I go look around. . .

Great thread S&F!


I have some experience in this field as a HUMINT collector (interrogation and solicitation) and have taken a few of the courses people are talking about some were hosted by LEO's like FBI some were civilian contracts and others an amalgamation of techniques taught by military personnel.

Some call the field Behavioral Symptoms Analysis as I think they did in the courses I took in England and here we use the KINESIC Interview techniques and what AnteBellum is talking about is called "statement analysis" in which you look at the words a person uses to answer a question or make a statement rather than the standard behavior "tells" that indicate deception.

The key thing to remember when one employs these techniques is that they are but one of the tools an investigator has at his disposal to put the pieces together. If one were to cite a Kinesics tell or symptom in his report as evidence of the facts he/she would and should be laughed from the room. You have to combine the indicators with proper field research and other hard evidence and facts. All the indicators do is tell you where to look for real clues and information.

It certainly is not a hard science and is more of an art and a learned and as I have discovered a skill that atrophies quickly.

I personally have put more stock in statement analysis than BSA or Kinesics because like some have opined a really well trained agent/operator or public figure with coaching can defeat most passive deception detection techniques. However, it is a darn site harder to make in unrehearsed statement without using all the information available to you. Often the person making the statement will reveal facts unwittingly through their choice of words.

BHS and Kinesics require you to know what is normal for the person as far as facial expressions are and their individual mannerisms - this is fine if you can conduct and video many sessions and study them after you ask questions you know the answers to in advance.

However, statement analysis doesn't usually require as much background work. The words one chooses to use are very telling when it comes to the actual facts especially when a person is fatigued, stressed or having been say interrogated in an enhanced manner.

Statement analysis is very inter5esting and can be from switching tense and from first to third person when wanting to avoid feelings of guilt to using very vague words consistently like really, about etc. Again, it's not a giveaway and in some cases can just be poor grammar or education (especially hard through an interpreter) but with some baseline writings or statements of the person you can establish the indicators.

Here is a good explanation of the differences between Statement and Kinesic Analysis (BSA)

Statement Analysis vs. BSA

These "experts" when they testify are being used in an effort to convince a jury to disregard a hole in the hard evidence that the prosecution can't bridge with facts. This is common in all sorts of areas like a mental evaluation and character witnesses.

Both sides have their "experts" paid BTW and very well...to say whatever their employer wants them to. One hopes that there are some ethical standards in the field but like in any field you can pay an "expert" to support what you want - just like anyone can make the same set of statistics favor both sides of an argument with the way the results are worded and categorized.

I would never convict someone based on my interpretation of their deception factor - but the public at large are susceptible to "experts". You never know the deception could just be embarrassment or a social stigma or something like that - it’s the "arm-chair" experts who have a two week course under their belt in the interrogation rooms that make the practice look bad. Like anything it's more important to know that you don't know...especially when you are talking a person's freedoms and rights.

Don't let the few bad mis-uses discount the whole field - it has merit as a tool when used with others.


edit on 11/5/2011 by Golf66 because: (no reason given)

edit on 11/5/2011 by Golf66 because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 11 2011 @ 04:44 PM
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Originally posted by TKDRL
reply to post by BillfromCovina
 


Problem is, it is used to determine if someone is worth investigating. And being investigated, means you will need to hire a lawyer, which costs more than most people can afford. And if you cannot afford an attorney, you have a high chance of being tricked and railroaded.
edit on Wed, 11 May 2011 16:23:21 -0500 by TKDRL because: (no reason given)


The problem with our current judicial system and law enforcement is a separate issue. I now understand that the real law in this country is "Might makes Right". The people with power and money make the laws and interpret them to their benefit. The Constitution and supposed rights are only to placate the common man. Don't worry about whether law enforcement wants the truth. Most don't care about the truth. They will lie and even frame you if they want, with no consequences to stop them. Expect it



posted on May, 11 2011 @ 04:45 PM
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I worked doing interrogations in a professional capacity, and one thing I can tell is there are no "rules" in an interrogation. Each person is different, from different backgrounds, with different motivations, different mental states, even different physical features that may affect the analyses of their statements. The more they talk though, the better, as you will get a better sense of their nature.



posted on May, 11 2011 @ 04:47 PM
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Originally posted by AnteBellum
I wonder if there is a technique to seeing through lies when you only have access to text such as on a site as this!?!

There must be someone doing research on this also.
Excuse me while I go look around. . .

Great thread S&F!


It is more difficult, but over time you can still get a sense of someone through type written work.



posted on May, 11 2011 @ 04:59 PM
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Originally posted by BillfromCovina
Don't worry about whether law enforcement wants the truth. Most don't care about the truth. They will lie and even frame you if they want, with no consequences to stop them. Expect it


Most just want to close the case as quickly as possible - truth is most likely irrelevant to them.

God help anyone who opens their mouth in the interrogation room of a LEO's office.

Don't say a thing - not one word; don't fall for the "well if you have nothing to hide..." and all those crap statements.

Never forget that LEO's can outright lie to you in the interrogation room and whatever you say will be scrutinized for your reaction and or lack of reaction.

They can tell you they got witnesses they don't have, photos, video, and that your kids were in a car accident and they are holding you till they get a statement then you can go, etc... They will Mutt and Jeff you, Good Cop - Bad Cop, rapid fire, guilt and plea and all the neato tricks. I'd just go to sleep on them they can't use enhanced interrogation after all; can't be worse than SERE School.

If they have enough to charge you they would have...if not, be quiet and wait them out.

You have the right to say nothing; it’s in the Miranda Warning – just point it out to them don’t even say it.

edit on 11/5/2011 by Golf66 because: (no reason given)



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