You, sir, are a liar and a scoundrel.

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I used to love watching the show Lie to Me. For those who clearly do not watch enough television, its now cancelled tv show about a psychologist who is an expert in detecting lies through subtle clues in body language. He uses his skills to help solve crimes. I have never taken a psych class before, so when I heard that the show was based off of a the work of a real person (Paul Ekman), I was convinced that everything they said on the show must be true. I was sad to see that the textbook rejects this notion and that even so called "experts" often do little better than chance when determining whether or not someone is lying. Why not? Although the textbook does state that there are certain primary emotions whose expressions are universal (That is, that a surprised face is a surprised face everywhere), lying is not an emotion. Furthermore, there is no emotion universally associated with lying. Perhaps Ekman was actually reading people's emotions through microexpressions and just happened to be really good at interpreting them. I wish the textbook had more on microexpressions and body language.


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Here is a promo video of the show The link didn't insert properly, sorry!

I like the show as well, but it sometimes seems a little staged. To me, it doesn't seem possible to pick up on some of the tiny details. I think using emotions to try to predict lying makes more sense. At least personally, my emotions are easily identifiable.

I read in another person's blog about this topic that "human lie detectors" should be used in law enforcement. Do you think this could work in real life, not just in Lie to Me? If so, why?

I've never seen the show Lie to Me, but it sounds very similar to what Patrick Jane does on the Mentalist. I can empathize with you, as I was very hopeful that Patrick Jane's work was accurate.

I absolutely loved that show and was sad when it was cancelled. The whole concept of being able to tell if someone was lying by facial expressions and solve cases to me was fascinating. Now looking back, I agree with an above comment that emotions would be easier to read. I know my facial expressions give away my mood. I can tell my friends moods as well just by their facial expressions. One might argue that because I know them so well is how I know what they're feeling, just like anyone could with a close friend. However, there are the basic emotions that are the same across cultures which Lie To Me talked about. Maybe there was a little science behind, just probably more reading emotions than detecting lies.

Honestly I have never seen the show lie but I have seen the mentalist and read many spy/action books that involve using micro-expressions to determine if someone is being honest or not. I always used to think how cool it was that people could do this. I also wish that the book would have talked more about the body language and micro-expressions that may or may not be involved in the process of telling a lie. I personally want to learn more about the effects of telling a lie has on brain activity.

I have never seen this show but it reminds me of the show 'The Moment of Truth' which was very controversial as to whether or not a polygraph detector could determine if the contestants were lying or not. Long story short, the show had bad ratings and caused several relationships to come to an end due to whether or not the contestants were actually lying about some pretty serious questions involving their private lives. This show, like 'Lie to Me' must have some truth to it but it is highly probable that it is inaccurate often.

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This page contains a single entry by silva151 published on April 1, 2012 8:10 PM.

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