Sunday, 8 March 2009

A few home truths

Updated 10/3/2009 - see correct answer at the bottom of this post.

I guess you wouldn't believe me if I told you that while I was baking scones today this vision of Jesus appeared in the flour.

No, I guess not. It's a little far fetched isn't it? Even though flour is a fun medium to play with.

Well then, let me try this.

Which one of the following five statements about me is not true?

1. In 2007 I appeared in a full page story in one of Britain's Sunday papers. The British press is something else.

2. I was doing a politician's makeup once for TV when he fell asleep in the makeup chair. I was in the middle of giving him a black eye (with makeup) as a practical joke when he woke up - thankfully he had a sense of humor.

3. I have been to Paul McCartney's home in St John's Wood, London. Very interesting. The chickens he had running around his yard disturbed me greatly.

4. I am so allergic to bees they could kill me with one sting.

5. When I was twenty I went off a cliff. I was returning from Afghanistan and I’d picked up a local bus in eastern Turkey. During the night, the driver fell asleep. The bus crossed the midline, ricocheted off a truck coming in the opposite direction, and when it finally came to a stop, nine people were dead.
I have rarely travelled on a bus since.

How good are you at spotting lies? It's tough no matter how clever we think we are. Things aren't always what they seem are they? Oh the tangled web we weave when we practice to deceive.

Apparently the average person tells three lies in every ten minutes of conversation. It's an often quoted statistic and one I find alarming.

Depressed people are more honest than mentally healthy people but when they become healthy again they become less honest again. Imagine.

I know how damaging lies are. I was once was in a relationship with someone whose life was a lie from A to Z. I discovered it all a bit late in the day. Sad. And totally unnecessary.

It's a topic that fascinates me for obvious reasons. I have done a lot of research now on why people lie, why we ignore the warning signs and how we can determine when people are lying? The only difficulty is that people with certain borderline personalities will lie as naturally as they draw breath. Even experts will not detect their deceit. So fingers crossed you never run into the 4% of sociopaths who exist in the world.

I am enjoying the new show Lie to Me about Dr. Cal Lightman who can detect the truth by analyzing a person's face, body, voice and speech. When someone shrugs his shoulder, rotates his hand or raises his lower lip, Lightman knows he's lying. He is the world's leading deception expert, a scientist who studies facial expressions and involuntary body language to discover not only if you are lying but why. I think it should be compulsory viewing.

If only it were as simple as the “liar, liar, pants on fire” nursery rhyme to tell when a person is lying to you. Ahhh, yes, if only their lying pants would burst in to flames life would be so much easier. Unfortunately liars rarely spontaneously combust and so we must find other ways to identify when somebody is being untruthful. Barring a blazing miracle the only shot that those of us who do not have a lie detector handy have at recognizing a liar is good old fashioned instinct.

How good are you at detecting lies?

Check these online quizzes here. They are fun to do.

If you want to find out the tell tale signs to watch out for then read this. But remember, don't focus on the lie as much as the reasons for the lie.

“All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them.” Galileo Galilei

UPDATE