Lying is a cooperative act.
. . . Its power emerges when someone else
agrees to believe the lie.
~ Pamela Meyer
In 2011, social media expert Pamela Meyer, author of Liespotting: Proven Techniques to Detect Deception (St. Martin's Press, 2010), gave a short (18:51 minutes) but fascinating TED Talk about lying: how often we do it, what its very real consequences are, what it looks and sounds like.
On any day, Meyer says, we get lied to as many as 200 times, and while some of our lies are not harmful, others have dramatic costs. "Deception," Meyer stresses, "is serious business"; not only is it highly prevalent, it's complex, part of our history and culture. "We're against lying. . . but we're covertly for it," Meyers points out.
Some highlights from Meyer's talk, which is provided below:
✦ Lying attempts to bridge a gap between who we are and what we wish or want to be. If you don't know what it is you hunger for, you can be deceived.
✦ We lie more often to strangers than to those we know. Men lie more to protect themselves while women generally lie to protect others.
✦ There are two patterns of deception that a person trained to spot lies can uncover. One is speech (e.g., distancing from subject) and the other is body language (e.g., fake smile).
✦ Knowledge of "hot spots", the discrepancies between words and actions, helps in liespotting.
✦ Liespotting is both science and art. Various technologies — for example, eye tracking devices, infrared brain scans, MRIs — can help uncover "red flags" or "hot spots" but these have no value in themselves. Successful liespotters rely on human tools, make an art of looking and listening to get at the truth.
Meyer is the owner of Simpatico Networks, a social networking company, and Manhattan Studios, a consulting company. She also is a Certified Fraud Examiner who trains negotiators and CEOs in verbal and nonverbal cues to deception, facial interpretation, advanced interrogation techniques, and information elicitation. Meyer holds a MBA from Harvard Business School and a MA from Claremont Graduate University.
Also Of Interest
Liespotting Website (You'll find here information about Meyer's book, a section titled "Liespotting Basics", and a list of workshops Meyer conducts on the subject of lies and truth-telling. The Archive also has a series of interesting posts and videos about lying.)
Meyer's YouTube Video About Liespotting (The YouTube channel for Liespotting has a number of other videos that reveal various individuals' uses of common deception techniques.)
Podcasts with Meyer (A number of interesting interviews are found here.)
Meyer and Liespotting on FaceBook, Twitter, and LinkedIn
Excerpt from Liespotting at BusinessWeek
Liespotting on GoogleBooks
Association of Certified Fraud Examiners
"Who Lies More to Get Ahead? Men or Women?", Women at the Top Blog, December 6, 2011