The Pursuit of Knowledge: Lie Detection

First thing to know...people lie.
Second thing to know...don't ever trust someone beyond what they have earned.
Third thing to know...when dealing in a situation where something feels wrong, it probably is.

Alright, so what am I talking about? Well, over the course of my life time and through dealing with compulsive liars growing up, playing poker for a living & dating someone who was less than honest I have honed my skills of lie detecting to a degree that is almost scary. And guess what it boils down to two things: Observation & Pattern Recognition.

I observe everything when watching a person. From the way they stand, how often they blink, their hands, the nervous habits that they do when they are uncomfortable, inflection of their voice, their pulse & their eyes. Most of this just comes second nature and I don't realize I have done it until someone does something that goes against their typical mannerisms and style.

That is the aspect of pattern recognition. Noticing when something is out of the ordinary and analyzing why. Why are you looking away when you always look dead in my eyes when talking? Why did you hesitate before saying that last bit? Why did you rush through your entire commentary when you are usually very measured? Are you clinching your fists? This extends beyond the scope of just lie detection into the realm of emotional recognition, as well. Seeing into the depths of a person's psyche beyond the smile on their face, etc.

Why is this so important? Well, take a look at the first statement. People lie and if you can detect it, you are given a leg up on them and everyone else as the knowledge is power. I play poker and if I could not detect a bluff, I would not be as good at it as I am. I would be purely playing on statistical value, which has its merits but is only part of the full picture.

There, however, are people out there that are hard to get a read on when they are lying. Either they have honed that skill very successfully (Politicians :-p) or they are just compulsive liars. When dealing with the latter I just assume that everything that they say that I can't confirm is a lie and move on. I tend to sever ties with people who are exhibiting a pattern of lying, it is for the best. Nothing will bother you more than someone that knows that you know that they are lying but continues to do it anyway.

There is reason why you have to earn trust and it is not just doled out to the masses. People don't know how to handle having so much power and we abuse it. We just can't help ourselves, its a weird fascination with testing our boundaries and such. I test another boundary; however. What happens when someone tells the truth all the time? Is this acceptable or are there situations where a lie is appropriate and maybe even necessary? I think there are situations where lying is the easiest way out, but I prefer in those situations to keep my responses short and not give out so much of the truth as to harm someone.


1. Pay attention
2. Question variances
3. Trust your instincts
4. The truth will set you free



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