Over the weekend, I came across a New York Times piece, Can You Spot the Liar? Though more than six months old, this interactive piece remains relevant and interesting.
The Times offered this description of how to play:
Poker players might call it the “tell” — it’s the idea that your body language tells your questioners if the words you’re saying are actually true or false. These subjects in a University of Chicago study on body language and lying were asked several general questions — and then told off camera to lie or tell the truth when answering. Can you tell truth from falsehood?
After watching videos of ten individuals, each answering a single question after being told in advance how they should respond, I was able to determine whether or not the person was lying or not lying six out of ten times.
Was I surprised when I answered correctly 60 percent of the time and was, in effect, more accurate than the typical polygraph exam? Not at all. As an investigative journalist who spent most of four years investigating the use of credibility assessment technologies, including the polygraph, I learned a lot about success rates and scams.