The truth of detecting lies

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I was really excited when our psychology textbook and Professor Gewirtz mentioned the Fox television show, Lie to Me in our unit of emotion. I absolutely love this show. It's well written, has many interesting and developed characters, and is based on science!
Now our textbook says that "even professionals with substantial expertise in detectng lies have high error rates", but the main character Cal Lightman, who almost never messes up a facial reading, says that "his" techniques are based on 70% science. The show is even based off the research of Paul Eckman, who worked as the scientific advisor. So I decided to dig a little deeper.

As it turns out, renowned psychologist Paul Eckman indeed did comment on every script of the show. While the show was running, he had his own blog about every single episode and the science used in each one (every dilated pupil, facial expression close-up, etc).

I also found some information about another character on the show, Ria Torres who was a "natural" at detecting lies (almost a 100% catch rate). In this study, The Wizards Project, psychologists found out that "naturals" do exist! According to Dr. O'Sullivan, "Of those 13,000 people we found 31, who we call wizards, who are usually able to tell whether the person is lying, whether the lie is about an opinion, how someone is feeling or about a theft".

So everyone should definitely look into this fictional tv show to pick up some tricks when it comes to detecting lies. I know I did!

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Nice post. Good connections to media sources.

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This page contains a single entry by maldo032 published on November 6, 2011 10:49 PM.

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