DETECTING A LIAR



                                        


A good liar will look in the eye and speak in a strong, clear voice. Do not expect manifestations of “the Pinocchio syndrome” in a good liar, that is, blinking, stammering, gulping, and the like.


 The best liars are sociopaths, people without a conscience. Polygraph and voice-stress analyzer tests are useless with them. Emotional and unsophisticated people, on the other hand, can “flunk” a polygraph test and still have told the truth. Anxiety and anger can cause the wrong kinds of blips on the graph and be interpreted as lies.

 Screening your prospective employees by making them take the “lie detector” test is not a terribly good idea. Nor is the test effective for internal investigations.

 Some people are born liars, with a pathological compulsion to subvert the truth. Given enough time, these people invariably reveal themselves. Be wary of people who talk too much; this is frequently a symptom of the compulsive liar. A poor liar will repeat certain phrases as if learned by rote –which they were.

 A good liar either can be born with the gift or can develop the art after years of study, practice, and endless field work in the widest variety of circumstances. There is the well-prepared lie on one end of the spectrum and the spontaneous lie on the other –the good liar is adept at both. There are also varying degrees of truth and falsehood; the artful liar will know exactly how much fact to mix with fiction.

Study the masters of deceit; statesmen and politicians, both foreign and domestic; certain lawyers, certain salesmen, some children –they offer a clue to style and content. Advertising is also worth studying, not only for its deceptive assertions but for its clever omission as well.

 Always assume an opponent is lying, the acid test as to whether he is or not being –who benefits?