Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire

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Most people would say that it is possible to tell if someone's lying, but psychology would beg to differ. Paul Ekman's data as stated in our book says that about 70/100 is the highest number of times a person can guess correctly if someone's lying or not. One thing that shocked me about lie detecting was the higher reliability of verbal cues over gestures. In many detective shows, the detective watches the suspects pulse on his or her neck or picks up on a small action that gives the crook away, but the us of "fewer details and fewer qualifiers" is normally how one can tell if someone's fibbing. Custom workers also aren't more apt at lie detecting than other people.
Polygraph tests have always confused me because I would imagine that someone taking the test would be nervous or anxious to begin with, and it just tests signs of anxiety. Our textbook mentions that polygraph tests are known for many false positives (innocent declared guilty by the polygraph). They also yield a lot of false negatives (guilty declared innocent) which doesn't surprise me because I would suspect a criminal to be better at lying than the innocent person. Follow the link to learn how to pass a polygraph test.

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