Liar Liar

This week I a viewed an interesting TED talk video, where Pamela Meyer discussed How to Spot a Liar. The most important thing Meyer stated was that first you have to train to be a lie spotter, then to be a truth seeker, and then finally a trust builder. All in that order.

Meyer listed off a number techniques people use to purposefully deceive people and how individuals subconsciously do it. While doing so, Meyer pointed to the fact that “lying is a cooperative act”. If you stop and ponder it, it makes sense. It means that the person receiving the information or lie, must believe it to be truth in order for the conversation to continue to progress. Which begs the question: how often do we not even considered the validity of the previous statement and simply carry on with the conversation? Well, it must be a significant amount since Meyer believes that adults are lied to approximately 10 to 200 times per day! That fact alone should make people second guess or at least question what is being told to them.

Something that I thought needed to more clearly address in the video was the body language segment and how to pick out red flags when someone possibly is lying. The points that Meyer made were interesting, like you can tell a real smile by looking at their eyes, but she didn’t go too far into detail of the others. That might have been due to time constraints, but she could have followed the video up with some articles or more videos to help individuals who want to learn even more about it. This is something that I personally would like to learn. I would love to be able to look at a person’s body language and pick up on the signals that they are giving me and have a good idea if they are lying or telling the truth about what they are telling me.

This all will be extremely important for me as a future teacher, because I want to be able to pick out the lying students from the honest ones. I would want to get it wrong, even once. I am going to be lied to everyday as a teacher. Also, being able to slowly build trust with the students not only helps me, but it also helps the student realize that they have a sense of responsibility to being honest. Something that I think can be overlooked in the classroom settings.

I enjoyed watching this video since it made me realize that I need to be more aware during conversations, not simply chit-chatting with someone. Lastly, all the behaviors and techniques were simply red flags, not concrete information that is the same on everyone. However, if multiple red flags come up, one must begin to question the validity of the statement being received.

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10 Comments

  1. I think this is a very interesting topic and you did a great job explaining the ins and outs of how to spot a liar. One thing I found myself wondering, though is if it really even matters most of the time. Do we as responsible, empathetic adults really NEED to know every time someone is lying to us? Shouldn’t the consequence of guilt be carried on the shoulders of the liar and not on those of the person being told the lie? I really appreciated how you took the time to give an honest critique of the TED Talk and discuss what you’d like her to elaborate on.

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  2. Honestly, you are probably right when on the matter of adults. However, I think it might be a little different for children and are students, who are probably more likely to try and pull something pass the “old teacher”.

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  3. I would like to not only be able to use this as a teacher, but as a parent as well. I want to be able to tell when my kids are lying to me. Not necessarily so that I can call them out on it, but more to protect them. I want to make sure they’re not participating in risky behavior, which I hope I have done a good enough job as a parent to curb initially. In the event that I haven’t, I hope that I can identify a lie so that I can take a reactive stance when I couldn’t be proactive.

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  4. I think this will help with any future teacher. Though younger kids may have an easy tell, but it can get harder when students get older such as the high school range. Lies can go from; my dog ate my homework to I left it in my locker. When in all reality they didn’t do it at all. Some students may be tricky and this is a great post and video that will help tell those tells.

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  5. “It means that the person receiving the information or lie, must believe it to be truth in order for the conversation to continue to progress”. This is an interesting statement; how often do you know someone is lying to you, but never say anything to avoid more b.s. or that fact that you can end the conversation quicker and leave? I don’t think it’s necessarily always believing something to be true, its more of trying to avoid the conversation. I feel this is a “pick your battles'” sort of thing and in a classroom, does this hold true? Will you call out every student every time they lie, or will you let some things slide? After reading your post, I of course want to say that lying is not acceptable and will not be tolerated in my classroom, unfortunately, I am not sure I have enough will power to call out and take care of every lie. This post really got me thinking about this situation. Thank you!

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    1. That’s a great point about “picking your battles”. I realize that it is unrealistic to call out ever little lie, but we can teach them overall to stir clear of lying then I think we would have made a positive difference.

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  6. This is a very interesting talk. I agree that being able to tell who is lying would be helpful in the classroom. I watch some of the teachers when I tutor and some have this skill. It is amazing to see how a student then reacts when they see they have been made. They then cooperate with the teacher instead of fighting.

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