Friday, November 16, 2012

Political toolkit: How to know when Barack Obama is lying!

Stealing that old joke about lawyers is it whenever his mouth is moving?

This is not meant to be an editorial statement claiming that anyone in the Obama administration actually lies to the American people but then again, as anywhere else in life, some of them most likely do!

Therefore consider this a public service announcement for anyone who reads this article as well as for the mainstream media, a group that en masse can't seem to tell the difference between truth and untruth. Then again perhaps they can and simply choose not too!

This article was actually written because the other day, after reading a piece about verbal and non-verbal cues for spotting a liar and in the context of the Benghazi scandal, I thought that providing these tools to readers might prove extremely useful. Particularly facing four more years of an Obama administration!

Using a recent example from the news take a look at a video segment of the Obama press conference this past Wednesday (here) at a point when he was vigorously defending Susan Rice.

Then apply what you see to the tools below and decide if there are any potential signs of, shall we say, disingenuous speaking.

If you do, please leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Tools for spotting a liar!

Verbal cues:

  • Verbal cues such as changing to a noticeably higher or lower pitch, rambling, selective wording, avoidance of answering questions or attempting to change the subject, stammering, distancing language, loaded words, and the use of qualifiers (although much like Freud’s advice about cigars, sometimes a qualifier is just a qualifier).  Studies have also shown that liars use less contractions.
  • Unusual response time – shorter or longer. Planned (and rehearsed) lies and the liars who tell them tend to start their answers more quickly than truth-tellers. If taken by surprise, however, a liar takes longer to respond as on the fly fabrication takes time.
Physical cues:
  • A fake smile. Real smiles crinkle the corners of the eyes and change the entire face while faked smiles involve the mouth only.
  • Under or over production of saliva.
  • Pupil dilation. This nonverbal signal is almost impossible to fake. Larger pupil size that most people experience when telling a lie can be attributed to an increased amount of tension and concentration although some drugs or medical conditions can cause pupil irregularity.
  • Change in blink rate – A liar’s blink rate decreases before and during the lie and then it increases rapidly after the lie.
  • Fidgeting foot movements. ‘Nuff said.
  • Face touching. A person’s nose may not grow when he tells a lie, but watch closely and you’ll notice that when someone is about to lie or make an outrageous statement, he’ll often unconsciously rub his nose. (This is most likely because a rush of adrenaline opens the capillaries and makes his nose itch.) Mouth covering is another common gesture of people who are being untruthful, as is covering the eyes.
  • Unusual changes in gestures – Either unusual stillness or an increase in placatory gestures.
  • Microexpressions can be difficult to catch, but if you ever spot a fleeting expression that contradicts a verbal statement, believe what you see and not what you hear. Psychology Today has an excellent article on distinguishing microexpressions from other body language.
  • The quick-check glance – the classic of liars immediately looking down and away and then back at you again in a brief glimpse to see if you bought the lie.
Blended cues:
  • Incongruence not only in words but in gestures – Using logic and evidence as a guide you can spot both explicit and implicit incongruous statements. That is not the only kind of incongruous behavior though.  When a speaker believes what they say, gestures and expressions are in alignment with her words, e.g. you nod up and down when you say “yes”. When gestures contradict words – such as a side-to-side head shake while saying “yes’, it’s a sign of deceit or at least an inner conflict between what that person is thinking and saying.

H/T Jonathan Turley

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