On my mind today: The TV show Lie to Me
What is it?
A TV series that follows Dr. Cal Lightman (played by Tim Roth), a character inspired by the real-life physiologist and expert on emotion and facial expressions, Dr. Paul Ekman. Dr. Lightman and his colleagues at The Lightman Group help sort out who is telling the truth. They use a variety of techniques, including assess a person’s micro expressions, body language, speech and other data. With this information, they can determine who is being honest and who is full of crap. It’s kind of like watching Monk, but with better looking actors (no offense Tony Shalhoub) and a focus on political, governmental and white-collar criminals.
Check out the show if you want to see dishonest people brought to justice.
My mother taught me that lying was a very, very bad thing. When she suspected something was up, she would say “look me in the eyes and tell me the truth.” Oh, how that made me squirm. The vast majority of the time I quickly confessed to whatever I had done. I learned a lot from my mom, including a strong dislike of lies and the people who tell them.
It can be fairly easy to tell when people are not telling the truth, even when you can’t ask them to look you in the eyes.
Even if the show is fiction, watching it will help you hone your BS detecting skills. Important in anyone’s’ personal and professional life, critical when watching the news and those who should be representing us in government. In addition to watching Lie to Me to see how they do things, you can also go to Paul Ekman’s site and see his comments on each Lie to Me episode.
Some signs that you are being lied to are:
- Inconsistent story
- Story is told completely sequential. When most people talk about an experience, they jump back and forth in time, filling in details as they remembered them. Stories that flow in sequential order are more likely to be rehearsed
- Also, if someone has planned out their lie in advance, they tend to use more elaborate sentences and sophisticated words
- If someone needs to lie on the fly, they will use very simple words, as they have to focus both on making up the lie and telling it
- Looking up to the right (if they are right handed)
- Blinking and blushing (Oops, I’m in trouble here, as I blink a lot and blush easily)
- Repeated proclamations of honestly
- Avoids referring to themselves using first-person pronouns (I, me) in favor of more general statements
Want to learn more?