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November 06, 2014

How We Lie

via @rdbrewer4, some basic rules for spotting a liar.

There are four simple rules of thumb for spotting a Lie:

1. Avoiding personal pronouns. Liars distance themselves from their lies by avoiding the word "I." They choose to say "we," or speak in convoluted passive-voice sentences in which no subject is present.

2. Using negative language. The example given is "My stupid phone's battery died. I hate that thing." The idea is that liars feel subconsciously guilty about their lie (or at least uncomfortable at being in the position of lying), and add in unnecessary negative emotional language in their lie.

3. Offering simple explanations. Liars are forced to make up stories, and when they do make them up, they tend to be very simple, straightforward tales. Their stories tend not have the complexity and implied background details of stories about real events.

4. Using convoluted language. Perhaps liars realize that something is missing from their stories -- that their stories aren't life-like, in being so simple -- and so attempt to pad them out by using convoluted language, and irrelevant parenthetical details, to make them appear more complex than they actually are.

I seem to notice that our President makes very frequent use of 1, 3, and 4. (He has his surrogates use the negative language.)

Actually... He does #2 a lot himself, I just realized. "No one's angrier about this than me" and all the rest of it.

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posted by Ace at 03:05 PM

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