While reading about lying and lie detection in the book I was particularly interested by the section "Humans as Lie Detectors." It mentioned that people generally have a 55% chance of detecting that someone has told a lie. It also mentions that certain groups we may expect to have a higher chance of detecting a lie, actually perform at levels similar to most people.
I have personally watched almost every episode of "Lie to Me" that was made, before it was cancelled in 2011. In one the episodes Cal Lightman, of The Lightman Group which the show is about, meets one of his future employees . This character is working as airport security, which you could argue is similar to a customs official at an airport, which is one of the groups specifically named in the book as being expected to perform better in detecting lies, but is actually just about as accurate as most people.
In the show she is portrayed as a natural at detecting lies. While this opposes the what the book says in generally the case, it got me thinking about what makes a person better at detecting lies than any other person. The book mentions certain groups, such as secret service agents, clinical psychologists and some judges or law enforcement officials as being more adept at detecting lies. It also suggests that their superior lie detection is attributed to year of experience in spotting lie, but how do they even detect lies?
The book mentions types of machine that can help determine if a person is being deceptive, but it doesn't mention how to spot lies without machinery, which is essentially what the show "Lie to Me" is about. The show heavily used the idea of "Micro Expressions," which is a major part of Ekman's work. The premise of these micro expressions is that if you can detect the micro expression, which is essentially a brief show of emotion on a person's face, you can use that to determine if the person is lying. These expressions, which are shown even when a person is attempting to conceal their emotions, are 1/15 to 1/25 of a second. These expressions merely tell you an emotion is being hidden, but not why. Which can be a similar problem with other forms of lie detection.
Do you think this method will ever be used to detect deception in criminals the way modern lie detection equipment is used?