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Thread: Spotting a liar

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    (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻ Deckard's Avatar
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    Spotting a liar

    Do you think you're good at identifying when someone is lying? Are you a good liar?



    I found this video interesting, mostly because a lot of it seems wrong or too superficial to be effective for lie spotting. It's very easy to get caught up in confirmation bias when you have head knowledge of telltale signs to look for. In the video the speaker shows an instance of someone lying about a paternity test, shaking their head supposedly in contradiction to what's being said. But simply counting the times he does this it's evident he's both shaking and nodding his head for the same verbal affirmations with no clear pattern. It seems pretty obvious to me that the head shaking represents a negation to the accusations being leveled at him, not necessarily relating to the exact thing he's saying at the moment.

    There seems to be a lack of distinction in considering similar behaviours between lying and innocent nervousness, truthful persuasion or rehearsed speech. Lying is nuanced behaviour: context and intuition about the individual's personality and psychology are critical in interpreting their behaviour. The behaviour alone is often ambiguous.

    The other confounding factor is that there are good liars and bad liars. Most people can easily spot fake smiles -- or at least we think we can. But are we just experiencing confirmation bias because we're only aware of the ones we detect? Good liars are also good actors. They inhabit the lie as opposed to consciously performing it, so their body language and speech are genuine, not affected.

    Any good poker player knows that spotting a tell is more about reading the individual. A list of commonly understood tells can be used by the liar to manipulate and confuse. Reading a player often comes down to a gut instinct, which is hard to quantify and involves a subconscious analysis of a broad range of information, much of which is ambiguous. Perhaps this is why it's difficult to define a science of lying, since the features of a lie rarely fit into neat boxes. Lies are nuanced, highly dependent on various seen and unseen variables, and inhabit a grey area of ambiguity.
    Last edited by Deckard; 10-08-2016 at 01:57 PM.

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    fluctuating Obfuscate's Avatar
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    liars are the people with their lips moving... unfortunately catching them in the act can be a bit more complicated... i feel like i am good at catching lies in people i know well... for everyone else i keep in the mind that words are fun, and though i enjoy interaction i can't trust someone until i learn a bit about them... even then i can't trust them never to lie, i can only trust that i'll catch them when they do (hopefully not after it matters)...
    "The vanity of intelligence is that the intelligent man is often more committed to 'one-upping' his opponent than being truthful. When the idea of intelligence, rather than intelligence itself, becomes a staple, there is no wisdom in it."
    Criss Jami

    "When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but creatures of emotion."
    "Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain but it takes character and self control to be understanding and forgiving."
    Dale Carnegie

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    I like big buts Sir Caveat's Avatar
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    Interesting stats around 4:40. Extroverts lie more than introverts, as I expected. They talk more and I expect bullshit more. Also, women are more likely than men to lie to protect somebody else. I'm sure my wife covers for my stepson. This was just part of a conversation:
    Her - You always blame him even when he didn't do anything
    Me - You always protect him even when he did do something

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    Meae Musae Servus Hephaestus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Obfuscate View Post
    liars are the people with their lips moving...
    The best liars don't say anything. They just set the stage and let people make their own conclusions.
    Most of time, when people ask why something terrible happened, they don't realize they are looking for someone to blame.

    --Meditations on Uncertainty Vol ξ(x)

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    Dr.Awkward Robcore's Avatar
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    I think I'm decent at spotting liars...probably better now than I was before I watched the show Lie to Me. That was a good show until they started glossing over how Tim Roth's character was able to tell that something was a lie. Basically, the first season was really informative, and the rest was just a standard procedural show.

    In any case, I don't get much out of calling a liar a liar...but that probably says more about the benign nature of the lies I witness most frequently than anything. I have witnessed outright harmful lies and have spoken up about them...but most often I'm likely to see someone lying to themselves and trying to sell that lie to a broader audience in order to strengthen it.
    ...the origin of emotional sickness lay in people’s belief that they were their personalities...
    "The pendulum of the mind alternates between sense and nonsense, not between right and wrong." ~Carl Jung

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    fluctuating Obfuscate's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hephaestus View Post
    The best liars don't say anything. They just set the stage and let people make their own conclusions.
    that's interesting... i am not a big fan of the idea that omission is a form of lying, but if a person stops to set a scene beforehand the idea gains more traction...

    Quote Originally Posted by Robcore View Post
    In any case, I don't get much out of calling a liar a liar...but that probably says more about the benign nature of the lies I witness most frequently than anything. I have witnessed outright harmful lies and have spoken up about them...but most often I'm likely to see someone lying to themselves and trying to sell that lie to a broader audience in order to strengthen it.
    ditto
    "The vanity of intelligence is that the intelligent man is often more committed to 'one-upping' his opponent than being truthful. When the idea of intelligence, rather than intelligence itself, becomes a staple, there is no wisdom in it."
    Criss Jami

    "When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but creatures of emotion."
    "Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain but it takes character and self control to be understanding and forgiving."
    Dale Carnegie

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    Rocket Scientist Snake Champion Grape Jelly's Avatar
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    Intuition
    Memelogical qoutient

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    know nothing pensive_pilgrim's Avatar
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    We always tell the truth with our actions, so if you want to be sure then ignore what people say and pay attention to what they do.

  9. #9
    Now we know... Asteroids Champion ACow's Avatar
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    Well the stats repeatedly quoted in the video sound like psuedo-scientific figures pulled out of the proverbial arse. And it sounds like the kind of corporate/police-interrogation bullshit pseudo-science that tends to result in false positives aligning with the interrogators motivations/desires and seems to erroneously generalise across personality types, cultures, people, etc.

    This also doesn't touch upon the fact that there isn't enough in a lot of human communication and knowledge to classify half of things as truth/false. Omission of context is not the same thing as outright logical falsity.

    There are some signs that you can see in our culture because you're aware that its what the consultants/PR are telling the executive/political class (ie. taking time out to provide a prepared story narrative in response, repeating the question back/thanking the interviewer for questions to provide time to formulate a response, sticking to pre-prepared topics/responses/phrases, dorothy dixer's in the australian context but pre-prepared questions by friendly plants is common in ours and the US media "press release" culture). Similarly if you know anything about how the media works and lexical analysis, you can begin to see the signs of stories being lifted straight from PR firms, pre-prepared stories or organisational press-releases. If a photo appears in a magazine, its almost certainly been edited :P All politicians and public figures have permanent make-up and stylists these days, so that what you see on the screen has almost nothing to do with what this person actually looks like.

    That aside, i think the way to go about lie-detection is fourfold:

    1) Don't listen to a single thing a politician/executive says. Its just worthless noise. It might be true, it might be false. It doesn't matter. Their literal job is to feed you bullshit for their own self gain. There is just no content/reliable meaning there. You (presumably) have no access to them behind closed doors or outside of media managed events, so you do not know what they are really like or what their true opinions are on anything.
    2) Judge by verifiable facts and outcomes, never talk/image.
    3) Don't jump to judgements. Everything is just data to be collated against reality until you need to act on it, and your judgements could always be wrong. "Bob said in the interview he couldn't have killed his girlfriend because he was at Shane's club at 9:00pm on Wednesday" does not get turned into "Bob loved his girlfriend" or "Bob was at Shane's club at 9:00pm on Wednesday" or even "Bob is trying to deceive us/told us the truth". Data and conclusions/hypothesis are separate for as long as possible. Those who tell you otherwise (and that goes for data scientists who say they "let the data speak/form the patterns") are psuedo-scientists/salesmen/fool themselves like police interrogators.
    4) You must master your own emotional states and beliefs and projections. Half of persuasion/lying are plays to your own weaknesses, emotions, desires and implications, not the message being explicitly/syntactically communicated. Indeed, political speak takes full advantage of this by providing meaningless feel-good empty phrases and then letting the electorate project their own meaning into the hollowness of the words. It is also one of the techniques most successfully employed by con-men: professional, criminal or otherwise.

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    Member Penguinhunter's Avatar
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