The video addresses two main truths. The first truth is that lying is a cooperative act. On some level, we must want to believe a lie. Lies in themselves are powerless, until someone believes them. However, just because people want to be cooperative does not mean that lying does not result in deception. The video referenced the Enron case in demonstrating how people want to be cooperative but are being deceived. It can be assumed the individuals working for Enron believed that their financial future was secure, something most people do want to believe.
The second truth that was addressed in the video is that we are against lying. On some level this may be true; however, on some level it may not be. For example, little white lies are often told for a reason. Few people want to be told that they look fat, or they are too small. Instead, on some level, we want to minimize our shortcomings. This was further exemplified in the video when statistics were given. One of the statistics is that strangers lie more to people they just met. Another statistics is that women lie to protect others. On some level, these facts are believable. Strangers often have no real reason not to lie, as there is no emotional attachment. In contrast, women may lie to cover for their children, parents or an individual they care for. In demonstrating that people want to be lied to, the speaker referenced a quote we live in a ‘post-truth society.’
In comparing the two facts, I believe that lying is a cooperative act has a higher level of veracity. Although the video claims that people are against lying, the frequency in which people lie suggests that this may be just another lie. On some level, people are probably against lying that result in deception and for lying that involves minimizing the individual’s shortcomings. Furthermore, the video suggests that lying is an evolutionary technique that people use. This was further demonstrated as the author discussed how at various stages of life, people lie for their own benefit.
The ability to spot a lie is an important technique that can be used to benefit an individual. The first pattern of lie spotting involves speech. Individuals tend to use formal language when they discuss the topic. They tend to distance themselves from the situation. Furthermore, individuals that are lying tend to provide too many details that are irrelevant to their story.
The second lie spotting technique involves examining the individual’s body language. Many people assume that individuals that are lying cannot look at others in the eye. However, individuals that are lying tend to over compensate this belief and look the individual in the eyes too much. Other body language includes freezing. Individuals tend to freeze their upper body when they lie. Another example is when an individual smiles. People can fake smiles in order to benefit themselves. However, real smiles often involve squinting of the eyes and showing their crows feet, something that people cannot fake.
In examining body language and lying, individuals that are honest tend to have different reactions. For example, individuals that are accused of telling a lie or deception that did not commit these acts tend to be very angry from the time they are accused on. Furthermore, individuals that have not told a lie are more likely to help the individual get to the bottom of the story to determine who actually committed the act. Finally, honest people have a tendency to recommend strict punishments when they are asked what should happen to individuals that have deceived others. In contrast, people that are lying or deceiving others tend to recommend leniency.
Although examining human behaviors is essential to determine if the individual is lying, it is crucial to have these behaviors occur in clusters. For example, people that are lying tend to be withdrawn. However, being withdrawn from a conversation can occur for many reasons and does not necessarily mean that an individual is lying. The video further references techniques used by interrogators including asking the individual to tell the story backwards. Another technique in spotting a lie is to watch the individual’s movements. Although individuals can practice their stories in order to keep a lie straight, they often fail to practice their emotions.
The emotion of contempt is unique as it is difficult to replicate. Individuals that have been deceived often have strong emotions. These emotions are extremely difficult to fake. Whether they involve angry or sadness, it is obvious in watching an individual’s facial expressions to determine if they are being truthful.
I believe the biggest lie that has been told in the past 150 years involves Santa Clause. Children are led to believe that Santa will bring them presents on the night of Christmas Eve. The reason I believe that this is the biggest lie is it continues to be told and is widely accepted in society. Around Christmas time, children go to visit Santa at various locations. Consumers can easily go to the store and purchase Santa like goods, as they prepare for Christmas Eve. Although I am not arguing that the tradition of Santa Clause is wrong, I believe that is indefinitely one of the biggest lies that have been told within the last century. As discussed in the video, on some level an individual must be cooperative to receive the lie. In examining Santa Clause, on some level, this myth demonstrates that we want to be lied to.
- Pamela Meyer: How to spot a liar (2011) Class Notes.