Pamela Meyer: How to spot a liar (2)
Pamela Meyer: Okay, what were the telltale signs? Well first we heard what's known as a non-contracted denial. Studies show that people who are overdetermined in their denial will resort to formal rather than informal language. We also heard distancing language: "that woman." We know that liars will unconsciously distance themselves from their subject, using language as their tool. Now if Bill Clinton had said, "Well, to tell you the truth ..." or Richard Nixon's favorite, "In all candor .." he would have been a dead giveaway for any liespotter that knows that qualifying language, as it's called, qualifying language like that, further discredits the subject. Now if he had repeated the question in its entirety, or if he had peppered his account with a little too much detail -- and we're all really glad he didn't do that -- he would have further discredited himself. Freud had it right. Freud said, look, there's much more to it than speech: "No mortal can keep a secret. If his lips are silent, he chatters with his fingertips." And we all do it no matter how powerful you are. We all chatter with our fingertips. I'm going to show you Dominique Strauss-Kahn with Obama who's chattering with his fingertips. (Laughter)
Now this brings us to our next pattern, which is body language. With body language, here's what you've got to do. You've really got to just throw your assumptions out the door. Let the science temper your knowledge a little bit. Because we think liars fidget all the time. Well guess what, they're known to freeze their upper bodies when they're lying. We think liars won't look you in the eyes. Well guess what, they look you in the eyes a little too much just to compensate for that myth. We think warmth and smiles convey honesty, sincerity. But a trained liespotter can spot a fake smile a mile away. Can you all spot the fake smile here? You can consciously contract the muscles in your cheeks. But the real smile's in the eyes, the crow's feet of the eyes. They cannot be consciously contracted, especially if you overdid the Botox. Don't overdo the Botox; nobody will think you're honest. Now we're going to look at the hot spots. Can you tell what's happening in a conversation? Can you start to find the hot spots to see the discrepancies between someone's words and someone's actions? Now, I know it seems really obvious, but when you're having a conversation with someone you suspect of deception, attitude is by far the most overlooked but telling of indicators. An honest person is going to be cooperative. They're going to show they're on your side. They're going to be enthusiastic. They're going to be willing and helpful to getting you to the truth. They're going to be willing to brainstorm, name suspects, provide details. They're going to say, "Hey, maybe it was those guys in payroll that forged those checks." They're going to be infuriated if they sense they're wrongly accused throughout the entire course of the interview, not just in flashes; they'll be infuriated throughout the entire course of the interview. And if you ask someone honest what should happen to whomever did forge those checks, an honest person is much more likely to recommend strict rather than lenient punishment.
Now let's say you're having that exact same conversation with someone deceptive. That person may be withdrawn, look down, lower their voice, pause, be kind of herky-jerky. Ask a deceptive person to tell their story, they're going to pepper it with way too much detail in all kinds of irrelevant places. And then they're going to tell their story in strict chronological order. And what a trained interrogator does is they come in and in very subtle ways over the course of several hours, they will ask that person to tell that story backwards, and then they'll watch them squirm, and track which questions produce the highest volume of deceptive tells. Why do they do that? Well, we all do the same thing. We rehearse our words, but we rarely rehearse our gestures. We say "yes," we shake our heads "no." We tell very convincing stories, we slightly shrug our shoulders. We commit terrible crimes, and we smile at the delight in getting away with it. Now, that smile is known in the trade as "duping delight." And we're going to see that in several videos moving forward, but we're going to start -- for those of you who don't know him, this is presidential candidate John Edwards who shocked America by fathering a child out of wedlock. We're going to see him talk about getting a paternity test. See now if you can spot him saying, "yes" while shaking his head "no," slightly shrugging his shoulders. (Video) John Edwards: I'd be happy to participate in one. I know that it's not possible that this child could be mine, because of the timing of events. So I know it's not possible. Happy to take a paternity test, and would love to see it happen.
Interviewer: Are you going to do that soon? Is there somebody --
JE: Well, I'm only one side. I'm only one side of the test. But I'm happy to participate in one. PM: Okay, those head shakes are much easier to spot once you know to look for them. There are going to be times when someone makes one expression while masking another that just kind of leaks through in a flash. Murderers are known to leak sadness. Your new joint venture partner might shake your hand, celebrate, go out to dinner with you and then leak an expression of anger. And we're not all going to become facial expression experts overnight here, but there's one I can teach you that's very dangerous and it's easy to learn, and that's the expression of contempt. Now with anger, you've got two people on an even playing field. It's still somewhat of a healthy relationship. But when anger turns to contempt, you've been dismissed. It's associated with moral superiority. And for that reason, it's very, very hard to recover from. Here's what it looks like. It's marked by one lip corner pulled up and in. It's the only asymmetrical expression. And in the presence of contempt, whether or not deception follows -- and it doesn't always follow -- look the other way, go the other direction, reconsider the deal, say, "No thank you. I'm not coming up for just one more nightcap. Thank you." Science has surfaced many, many more indicators. We know, for example, we know liars will shift their blink rate, point their feet towards an exit. They will take barrier objects and put them between themselves and the person that is interviewing them. They'll alter their vocal tone, often making their vocal tone much lower. Now here's the deal. These behaviors are just behaviors. They're not proof of deception. They're red flags. We're human beings. We make deceptive flailing gestures all over the place all day long. They don't mean anything in and of themselves. But when you see clusters of them, that's your signal. Look, listen, probe, ask some hard questions, get out of that very comfortable mode of knowing, walk into curiosity mode, ask more questions, have a little dignity, treat the person you're talking to with rapport. Don't try to be like those folks on "Law & Order" and those other TV shows that pummel their subjects into submission. Don't be too aggressive, it doesn't work. Now, we've talked a little bit about how to talk to someone who's lying and how to spot a lie. And as I promised, we're now going to look at what the truth looks like. But I'm going to show you two videos, two mothers -- one is lying, one is telling the truth. And these were surfaced by researcher David Matsumoto in California. And I think they're an excellent example of what the truth looks like. This mother, Diane Downs, shot her kids at close range, drove them to the hospital while they bled all over the car, claimed a scraggy-haired stranger did it. And you'll see when you see the video, she can't even pretend to be an agonizing mother. What you want to look for here is an incredible discrepancy between horrific events that she describes and her very, very cool demeanor. And if you look closely, you'll see duping delight throughout this video. (Video) Diane Downs: At night when I close my eyes, I can see Christie reaching her hand out to me while I'm driving, and the blood just kept coming out of her mouth. And that -- maybe it'll fade too with time -- but I don't think so. That bothers me the most.
PM: Now I'm going to show you a video of an actual grieving mother, Erin Runnion, confronting her daughter's murderer and torturer in court. Here you're going to see no false emotion, just the authentic expression of a mother's agony. (Video) Erin Runnion: I wrote this statement on the third anniversary of the night you took my baby, and you hurt her, and you crushed her, you terrified her until her heart stopped. And she fought, and I know she fought you. But I know she looked at you with those amazing brown eyes, and you still wanted to kill her. And I don't understand it, and I never will. PM: Okay, there's no doubting the veracity of those emotions. Now the technology around what the truth looks like is progressing on, the science of it. We know, for example, that we now have specialized eye trackers and infrared brain scans, MRI's that can decode the signals that our bodies send out when we're trying to be deceptive. And these technologies are going to be marketed to all of us as panaceas for deceit, and they will prove incredibly useful some day. But you've got to ask yourself in the meantime: Who do you want on your side of the meeting, someone who's trained in getting to the truth or some guy who's going to drag a 400-pound electroencephalogram through the door? Liespotters rely on human tools. They know, as someone once said, "Character's who you are in the dark." And what's kind of interesting is that today, we have so little darkness. Our world is lit up 24 hours a day. It's transparent with blogs and social networks broadcasting the buzz of a whole new generation of people that have made a choice to live their lives in public. It's a much more noisy world. So one challenge we have is to remember, oversharing, that's not honesty. Our manic tweeting and texting can blind us to the fact that the subtleties of human decency -- character integrity -- that's still what matters, that's always what's going to matter. So in this much noisier world, it might make sense for us to be just a little bit more explicit about our moral code.
When you combine the science of recognizing deception with the art of looking, listening, you exempt yourself from collaborating in a lie. You start up that path of being just a little bit more explicit, because you signal to everyone around you, you say, "Hey, my world, our world, it's going to be an honest one. My world is going to be one where truth is strengthened and falsehood is recognized and marginalized." And when you do that, the ground around you starts to shift just a little bit.
And that's the truth. Thank you.