Friday, November 22, 2019

Body language experts too can’t fake it to make it

Yes! It’s difficult to fake body language because of the lack of congruence that is most likely to occur in the use of the main gestures with the body’s micro gestures and its accompanying words. For example, open palms are connected with honesty, but when the pretender holds his palms out and gives you a fake smile as he tells a lie, his micro gestures gives him away, his pupils may expand, the eyebrows may slightly lift itself or the corner of his mouth may twitch and the accompanying micro momentary facial expressions would quickly signal that deception is occurring. 

It is not then easy to detect deception for those whose training is zero, unless of course you are a genius or you have been trained to observe and listen simultaneously. Nevertheless, the consequence to an untrained eye is that they as receivers of these signals tend to only unconsciously not believe what they hear and see, since they are usually not totally conscious that he or she has been duped. The Human mind seems to possess a fail device that register ‘tip’ when it receives a series of contrasting non-verbal messages. 

There are, however some cases in which body language is intentionally faked to gain certain advantages. Take for example, the Miss Universe or the Miss Malaysia contest, in which each contestant can put across these fake signals, she will then achieve points from the judges, but even the professionals can only fake body language for a short period of time and sooner or later their body will emit micro signals that are free of conscious control but instead signals that are involuntary. 

The same with politicians who think they are specialist, yes specialist in phony body language, just in order to get to the masses to believe what they are saying, these politicians exhibit fake signals while they sometimes are said to have ‘personality’ for that. These are the politicians who don’t like body language experts around them just like how some deceptive men and women fear me when I am around them. A truthful person or a sincere person usually does not fear me because they are consistent with them and their messages and they are the ones who could relate a highly charged emotional experience the same way each time because that’s the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

Just to make a point, I would like to relate an old experience of mine where the late celebrity Datuk Sharifah Aini in a quiet tone of voice and bending herself towards me, said these words.  “Jack, if I was lying about the whole incident, I think you must know, that the last person in the world I would ever want to see today is a body language expert like yourself.” She was absolutely right, there are people and most people for no reasons at all sometimes do avoid me because of who I am. 

This can be verified by those who have attended my body language courses on investigation. They sometimes do tell me that the knowledge of having been to a body language course itself helps subjects they have been investigating to open up and confess to them. Why? Because when these subjects or wrongdoers know that the investigator had attended my body language course, by the sole certificate on body language and deception detection hanging on their investigating room wall, the truth by design comes out from the wrongdoer.

How reliable and dependable are these indicators

Can one always rely on these signs, muscular tensions, anxieties and other visible micro gestures and detect these lies? Fortunately poor liars are much easier to catch by inexperienced investigators, especially those who don’t have a habit of telling lies, but those who are skilled habitual liars, they can suppress them, fake them, make-believe, imagine, pretend and act, which is much more difficult for the inexperienced ones to detect. 

Carefully, believe me you can be trained to catch them too. To catch suspected habitual liars one must learn some tricks, tricks that will allow you to detect them, give them away, maybe not immediate but surely with patience over a short time they will be caught. The trap you must learn to make! You also must understand some conmen are psychopaths. Conmen who believe in their lies, conmen who don’t even blush, conmen who think they are very intelligent. These too you can catch for sure. One trick is to look as though you believe every word the suspected liar says. This will give him the courage to go on talking; he will become more intense in his claims and in the end deceive or betray himself. 

The other is always double check or more before you accept his or her story, the tendency not to double check is a worldwide phenomenon. Big organizations are known to have employed people for highly trusted job functions without double checking and later had to bear with millions of dollars lost. Or video shoot the interview and then replay the segments to look for fleeting emotions of deceit. It is another safe method to determine if one is lying or not. It’s is also not true that there are no definite expressions or indicators that spell out a lie, there is just not one but a few that can actually spell out a lie. 

There are many deceptive non-verbal indicators that can be studied and there are also emotional reactions or behaviors of deception that must be considered because the problem happens when you have to distinguish between lying, anxiety or nervousness. For there is no sure way to catch a liar quick. No single facial expression, no gesture, and no element of body language that sends out the subtext, “I am lying” all at one go to an untrained eye. Though for the trained investigator, like other indicators, eye assessing cues are spot on, and only in exceptional situations, as eye assessing cues is a sure science when you know how and in what circumstances to identify it.

Some of these signals are observable when someone is under stress whether he or she is lying or not. It is very easy to confuse the two. So wise judgments and experience is important in making conclusions, to be an expert one has to take many years, to be highly conclusive. Sometimes we are so certain that one is lying, because our “gut feelings” which is more than intuition has actually noticed the combination of tiny clues to the emotions of the person who is lying. 

Unfortunately, if you’d ask 10 people, you would be surprised to find out that all or most of them would tell you avoiding eye contact is an indicator of deception. They are wrong because people avoid eye contact for several reasons – they feel uncertain about their opinions, they are trying to remember facts or they feel socially embarrassed or it is impolite in their culture. So taken in isolation some of them may be because of these.

Unfortunately, our conclusions are sometimes erroneous and may lead to unjust accusations. “I knew he was lying,” says a father about his son, “because he refused to look me in the eyes.” The father evidently assumes, based on first or second hand experience that people who lie tend to look way from their challengers. (Shifty gaze) But the son might have averted his gaze for other reasons. Maybe he was simply afraid of his father; maybe his interpretation of the father’s nonverbal behavior had convinced him that the truth would not be believed and that punishment was imminent no matter what he said.

In fidgeting one must also consider the personality as active extroverts fidget more, as do young children. Like foot movements and posture may indicate an uncomfortable chair or some may simply not be as gesture expressive as others. Or having their hands concealed maybe because he or she is feeling cold or searching for a small object or have bandaged hands. 

Having considered some aspects of lying it’s good to know that body language experts too are unable to give you a genuine smile with all  honesty and at the same time tell you a lie, for their involuntary micro gestures may give them away, their pupils may expand too and their accompanying micro momentary facial expressions that are involuntary would mismatch the seriousness of their message that they are saying thus signalling to you that their deception is occurring in front of you.

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