Do You Have What It Takes to Be Dr. Cal Lightman?

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cal lightman.jpg"Let there be Lightman". Anyone who is an avid fan would recognize this as the narcissistic line Dr. Cal Lightman from "Lie to Me" wanted to use to start his book on facial reading. While people tend to view Lightman as a simple lie detector, he may have reason to boast about his exploits. . He is consistently able to dissect lies and determine the truth simply by interpreting emotional and facial responses. What Lightman is demonstrating is an extremely high level of creative thinking and interpersonal intelligence.

Consider this typical scenario from a scene in "Lie to Me". Lightman sits someone down and asks him or her a question about the potentially false story a person has been telling. The person responds to the question and Lightman has to identify all facial cues or body language and determine which one does not fit the reaction of an honest person. For example, he sees shame in a response in which a person claims to have done nothing wrong. Using these cues, Lightman has to utilize divergent thinking to come up with plausible scenarios that account for the present emotions. Then, using convergent thinking, he selects the one that best fits and is most logical. He does all of this in a matter of seconds before he tells the lying person exactly what it is that actually occurred. Not only does this demonstrate high creativity, but also a high level of what Gardner termed interpersonal intelligence.

Granted Lightman is simply a TV show character, I believe this analysis is a good indicator of the different skills that one needs to measure when considering jobs. For example, say a potential replacement for Lightman was extremely gifted at reading emotions, but lacked in creative thinking and people skills. He would be able to read the emotions of the liars, but would he be able to interpret the emotional responses and decipher the truth?


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Lie to Me is an amazing show and I was hooked after the first episode and have seen every one since. His abilities are almost unreal, to be able to detect virtually any and all aspects of physical expression as indicators for telling truths. I wondered if there were really people out there who possess and hone these skills. It would be a good area for some managers of corporations and human resource employees to have a basic knowledge of some key actions that could give away truths for hiring purposes. In the tv shows case, there were many workers who collaborated to uncover aspects that another may have missed, or others who are stronger in certain areas of the detection. As seen on the show and in real life, there are ways to get around these subconscious actions if one is trained well to avoid them. It would definitely be a very interesting world of research to work in as well as a profession.

Interesting thoughts, though it is worth noting that humans are in reality exceptionally poor lie detectors. Even experts in the area don't do too much better than chance. Thus far, neither technology nor training has been too effective at improving our ability to detect lies.

I think that his abilities in this show are probably a little bit stretched past realism. I feel it is almost impossible for somebody to detect almost all of the lies I hear, but who knows, there may be that one gifted person out there (Cal Lightman) that can detect lies. I have never believed that lie detectors are effective at all, but that is just my opinion.

The psychological concepts the media inaccurately incorporates in their shows make for exceptionally good television. Who wouldn't want to know when people are lying, read minds, or control thoughts? Although, these would make extremely helpful skills it would also take away our humanity. I think the famous line "We're only human" explains it all. These t.v. characters are perfect examples to go off of for assessing psychological ideas. But we shouldn't get too caught up in them in that they effect our scientific reasoning.

This is a very interesting blog post. I think it is quite possible to determine if a person is lying based on facial features. However, this may not be reliable all the time. For example, a person may know what facial features reveal that he/she is lying and may implement other facial features to confuse the human lie detector. Also, I think there are physical characteristics of the human body like blood pressure, heart rate, and perspiration that also can help determine if a person is telling the truth and these can't be easily determined by looking at facial features.

I really enjoyed this blog post, and it has peaked my interest in the show Lie To Me. I have not seen it before but I will have to check it out. I do think there are some facial indicators that could show someone is lying, but I cannot say that human's would be the best lie detectors on their own. I think it would also be difficult to distinguish between facial expression that could indicate lying, and facial expression that are common for an individual to make (such as a nervous habit or a nervous twitch). Obviously, being interrogated would make anyone nervous, maybe even the innocent.

I have never seen this show, though in relation to Chris's comment, I too have heard that humans are usually poor at detecting lies in others. I wonder if the issue is more that people cannot detect lies or that people are better at lying than we may believe. If a person is confident enough in their ability to lie, then they would likely not experience the same telltale signs that give away their bluff.

I feel that people do have, to some extent, an ability to detect when someone is telling the truth or lying. It is most likely harder to figure out if a stranger is lying compared to someone you know. The thing that would most likely would not be able to occur is figuring out the exact truth by interpreting someones emotional responses.

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This page contains a single entry by mcqu0123 published on April 8, 2012 11:42 PM.

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