Body language and lie detection

Here at the office, the staff has become quite adept at looking into people’s eyes and telling when they are lying. Not the sort of thing that makes you popular at parties, and poker games tend to devolve into bloodbaths, but lie detection comes in handy in the detective business.

The Center for Nonverbal Studies Gestures in Spokane WA has compiled a dictionary of Signs & Body Language Cues to get you started. Final exam will be reading the face of Bill Belichick.

Good listener? Party bore? Unsure of the difference?

Guy at party said upon learning a detective was in the group: "I always wanted to be an investigator -- I can talk to anyone!" The problem is not talking to anyone; the skill is getting others to talk to you in a genuine way. Reid offers some tips on listening skills:

1. Avoid assumptions before actually doing the interview. Listen fully to answers.
2. Recognize the difference between a personal judgment and a factual statement.
3. Do not assume every verbal slip-up is an admission of guilt. Develop context and follow up with specific questions in the area of concern.

Lie detecting: focus on what people say, not how they act.

New York Times reports some researchers are focusing on speech content instead of body language as a better indicator of when someone is lying.

NLP eye movement & lie detecting: Everything you know is wrong

A surefire way to detect a liar is to watch the eyes move, right? You have seen this claim in books, movies, cable TV shows, blogs, etc. When someone looks up and to the left , they are accessing a visual memory. Lee Child even has Jack Reacher doing this in one of his books.

One problem: research shows it doesn't work. Even the
FBI has come around to this way of thinking.

“Twenty-three out of 24 peer-reviewed studies published in scientific journals reporting ex-periments on eye behavior as an indicator of lying have rejected this hypothesis.”

Detecting a liar - the punishment question

Last week, traveled to Argentina with the Boston Braves Football Club, and played against retired veteran from legendary clubs Boca Juniors and River Plate, as well as others. We did OK (no scores please), but the rat-a-tat-passing and superior ball skills of the Argentines was impressive . With help from my amigos, I witnessed an interesting incident at a Buenos Aires shop whereby an owner grilled an employee over suspected theft (in the open-- a slight departure from USA custom). Owner asked, "What do you think I should do to the person who stole the . . .?" This was interesting: many US interview courses teach this as a key component during the interview process. Called the punishment question by some (Reid), truthful suspects are open to some degree of appropriate punishment.