Lie To Me

22 July 2010

So the fact that I didn't watch any TV for about a year now means with all this free time on my hands I've caught up on a ridiculous amount of TV. Anyway a new show I'd never seen before is Lie to Me. It's actually good because it's different, this guy can study emotions and can tell when people are lying. The good thing about the programme is always why the people are lying. The second series isn't as good as the first but it has some highlights. Nevertheless I did some research because in the show they say how the main character studied this for years. Now I don't claim to be some lying expert but I can pretty much read people the first time I meet them and get it totally right. So I wonder how much of studying emotions for years is actually true. Anyway the show is based on the works of Paul Ekman who was a psychologist and trusty(ahem) old wiki has some info here, I'll pull out some good bits.

"Ekman showed that contrary to the belief of some anthropologists including Margaret Mead, facial expressions of emotion are not culturally determined, but universal across human cultures and thus biological in origin."

I think it's really interesting that you can tell when people are lying and I think it's true that all these expressions are universal. I'm no lie expert but I can usually tell when someone is lying but that's just based on instinct.

"Ekman devised a list of basic emotions from cross-cultural research on the Fore tribesmen of Papua New Guinea. He observed that members of an isolated culture could reliably identify the expressions of emotion in photographs of people from cultures with which the Fore were not yet familiar. They could also ascribe facial expressions to descriptions of situations. On this evidence, he concluded that the expressions associated with some emotions were basic or biologically universal to all humans.[12] The following is Ekman's (1972) list of basic emotions:

When I read it, it actually seems totally obvious. Anyway that's just me taking an interest in the show and of facial expressions. Reading someone and being able to tell if they're lying are totally different to me. I'm really good at the first one and okay with the second one. My only problem is because I know what facial expressions portray to other people I use this to manipulate people into what I'm actually not feeling. I don't do it to be cruel it's just a defence thing because I don't like to show how I really feel. So it makes me think can be not be smart enough to disguise their emotions. Obviously on the show it needs to be obvious to get the point across but neverthelessmost people are good liars because they know what's expected of them.
There is an episode in season 2 regarding a psychopath and another regarding a professional liar and they're really good examples of how this technique may falter.

Anyway just wanted to do a post on this, check out the show if you're interested!

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