Saturday, October 20, 2012

How do you spot a liar? It's not that hard.

Pamela Meyer, author of "Liespotting", shares some tips on how to spot lies.

Here's the biggest takeaway though:
"A lie has no power whatsoever by its mere utterance; its power emerges when someone else agrees to believe the lie.
In other words, a lie is like tango... it takes two, a liar, and a believer.

While you are not going to think everybody around you is going to lie to you, it may be prudent for you to learn how to spot lies when dealing with strangers, both in person, and online.

The normal way to deal with "not-sure-stuff" is to research it, and indeed, 65% of Americans don't believe what's on the Internet. 

The problem you don't have time to research it all, thus, you have to make judgement calls on what to trust and what not to, often under time pressure, and very often, you trust the WRONG STUFF.

That study that produced the 65% figure also revealed that most people rely on a secondary source to "validate" their decision on what to trust and what not to, and very often, that secondary source is an "expert".

However, this is a bad idea, as you basically substituted something that can be researched (fact or fiction) for something that actually has 4 (or more) possibilities:

  1. The expert knows what s/he was talking about and the advice is great
  2. The expert was of no help at all (not the expert you're looking for)
  3. The expert is self-delusional (sincerely telling you a bad advice)
  4. The expert is a liar (not an expert, but pretending s/he is one)
  5. Mixture of the above
By learning how to spot a liar, you can determine whether this "expert" is worthy of your trust, but that only tells whether s/he believes the advice s/he was giving. Whether the advice is any good, will be up to you. 

Any way, you need to know how to spot liars, so watch this video from TED
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