Telling Lies: Clues to Deceit

If you are a fan of the TV Series Lie to Me (like me) you are going to love this book by Dr. Paul EkmanTelling Lies: Clues to Deceit in the Marketplace, Politics, and Marriage, Third Edition.

This book is the science behind Lie to Me. From breaking the law to breaking a promise, how do people lie and how can they be caught. All 20 years of Ekman’s knowledge in this field is encapsulated inside this fantastic book.

When people lie, their most evident, easy-to-see expressions, which people pay most attention to, are often the false ones. ~ Telling Lies

Who is Dr. Paul Ekman

Dr. Paul Ekman is a psychologist who has been a pioneer in the study of emotions and their relation to facial expressions. He is considered one of the 100 most eminent psychologists of the twentieth century. The character Cal Lightman of the television series Lie to Me is loosely based on him and his work. More on Ekman is detailed here: – Cutting edge behavioural science for real world applications

The Truth is Written All Over Our Faces – Lie to Me

Lie to Me – the TV series

Lie to Me, is about Dr. Cal Lightman (Tim Roth) and his colleagues in The Lightman Group accepting assignments from third parties (commonly local and federal law enforcement), and assisting in investigations, reaching the truth through applied psychology: interpreting microexpressions, through the Facial Action Coding System, and body language.

Me (Ernest) reading Telling Lies – “I give this book 5/5 stars!”

The Book: Telling Lies: Clues to Deceit in the Marketplace, Politics, and Marriage, Third Edition

Ok so you can tell I enjoy Lie to Me for all the WEALTH of educational, useful and practical material this show offers. The book Telling Lies: Clues to Deceit in the Marketplace, Politics, and Marriage, Third Edition is a companion to the show’s science. It digs deep into the research behind the accepted theories and introduces the reader to work Ekman done with the Secret Service, FBI, CIA etc… There are also extras which are not in the show like the difference between “manipulators” and “illustrators”.

Manipulators are hard to control and people cannot stop doing them for very long, especially when they are relaxed. They include all those movements in which one part of the body grooms, massages, rubs, holds, pinches, picks, scratches, or otherwise manipulates another body part.  For example; covering the eyes was common among patients who felt shame. Also people have a tendancy to move forward with interest or anger and backward with fear or disgust.

Illustrators however are called by the name because they illustrate speech as it is spoken. The best clue to deceit is when the number of illustrators changes from the norm. For example: people tend to illustrate more then usual when they are furious, horrified, very agitated, distressed, or excitedly enthused. Also the opposite applies. Knowing one’s common illustrators will help you understand what state of mind they are in.

Emblems however are common signs like the finger or the shrug which everyone knows what these mean. Emblematic slips happen subconsciously in response to emotion. Where emblems occur in presentation area (between the waist and the neck area) emblematic slips are never performed in the presentation area. Best indicator is to remember that when “emblematic slips” increase, illustrators decrease.

These indicators are part of the detecting deceit from Words, Voice, or Body group. If you are suspicious of a lie, pay more attention to the voice and body. The voice, like the face, is tied to the areas of the brain involved in emotion and is a great indicator. You might want to check out The Invention of Lying which gives viewers a comical yet revealing truth about the influence of lying and it’s impact on our society.

More to come

“The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist. And like that, poof. He’s gone.” ~ Verbal / Keyser Soze – The Usual Suspects

I started learning about clues to deceit et al some time ago because I was interested in catching lie’s people tell to take advantage of someone. Having been a victim several times, I decided to take action. Since then I have a number of interesting books on body language, micro expressions and practised on Dr. Paul Ekman’s Facial Action Coding System (FACS) software to improve my cognition in categorizing facial behaviors based on the muscles that produce them.

I wanted to know with more accuracy who is “full of it” and who is telling the truth.

I plan to blog more about deceit, body language and micro expressions in the coming months. I believe understanding the people around you is an important trait which one can masture to help with building better rapport, friendship, relationship and to be in a position to stop liars from misleading you. Wouldn’t it be great to know if that sales man just wants a quick sale and isn’t interested in your needs or whether that deal is shonky, and / or misleading.

Essentially, this knowledge helps you make better informed decisions about practically anything in your life. That’s something worth knowing!

I love questions, so ask away!


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Author: Ernest W. Semerda

Aussie in Silicon Valley. Veryfi CoFounder (#YC W17 cohort). GSDfaster Founder. View all posts by Ernest W. Semerda

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