In that span, the average person will lie two to three times. “At a very early age we’re getting these conflicting messages about honesty, and for some people it makes them more prepared to be deceptive later in life.” And here we are, all grown up and peddling lies big and small: exaggerating our resumes, misleading our lovers, fibbing to spare people pain, lying to ourselves to preserve our sanity. How do we cut through the thick crust of deception and drill our way to the hot, molten core of truth? When it comes to teaching the art of detecting deception, Ekman is the man.
All those fit into the seven reasons we lie, as delineated by psychologist Paul Ekman: We lie to avoid punishment, to get a reward, to protect others, to escape an awkward social situation, to enhance our egos, to control information and to fulfill our job descriptions (think spies). His 1985 book “Telling Lies” is a benchmark work on the topic, and he has tested the lie-detection ability of more than 12,000 people and found that the average person will correctly identify a lie 54% of the time, hardly a desirable success rate.
But that person will do considerably better if taught to detect micro-expressions, which are suppressed (or repressed) emotions that briefly flash across someone’s face.
The truth is often tucked discreetly under a quilt of cheerful lies.“Don’t trust your impressions,” Ekman says of trying to detect concealed emotions. Judging by demeanor is very difficult to do.”One of the easiest ways to see beyond impressions is to learn to catch these micro-expressions, he says.
In our day to day lives it’s very difficult to be honest 100% of the time.
Every day, we are presented with situations where we have the choice to either tell the truth or to lie, but consistently telling the truth is not an easy path to take.
“What is their normal behavior, and when do they deviate from that?
I’m so manic and I talk with my hands, so if all of a sudden you ask me about my marriage and I change my behavior -- now I have my hands in my pockets, my tone of voice goes down -- it doesn’t mean I’m lying, but it’s a point of interest.”Still, this doesn’t mean a golden age of truth-telling is at hand.“The same phenomenon that’s making our words stick around can be used by people to lie even more,” says Feldman.
Another recently discovered that his wife is a compulsive liar, and he wants to arm himself for social interactions.
The class, which is offered occasionally through Professionals in the City, is taught by the Lyin’ Tamer: Janine Driver, a former stand-up comedian and federal law enforcement investigator who blended those two life experiences to make herself into a body language guru. 1 thing is to norm them, calibrate them,” Driver explains.