I have often times encountered individuals who tell me that they are good at telling when people are lying. These individuals claim they can tell by looking into someone's eyes or by just having a way of knowing. I was surprised to learn, from our psychology book, that the vast majority of people cannot accurately predict when a person is speaking truthfully or when they are lying.
Much like the explanations of these "human lie detectors," most believe that lying becomes obvious through nonverbal communication. While research shows that illustrators decrease and the use of emblems and manipulators increases when one lies, research also suggests that these nonverbal communication changes are not very consistent. Instead it appears that verbal communication changes more significantly when one lies. Thinking back to times where I have lied, I realize that my amount of details and qualifiers spoken is quite lower than when I speak the truth - just as our book suggests.
Researcher Paul Ekman tested the abilities of supposedly skilled human lie detectors such as police, judges, and psychologists. He found that they could only correctly identify about 60% of liars - an accuracy rate much lower than assumed by the general population, in my opinion. I think people in society need to think more critically about whether or not those working in our legal system have the ability to correctly identify and prosecute liars. I believe more training and education on the communication, body language, and psychology of lying should be a requirement to become a law enforcer. I wonder if "human lie detectors" could be applied to job interviews in order to obtain a more truthful reading on prospective employees.