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.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

The deceptive verbal behaviors of Mahathir Mohamad

When the ruling government’s party the Pakatan Harapan was deemed fully answerable for the poor showing in the Tanjung Piai by-election last Saturday, Mahathir Mohamad was not sarcastic, as one news agency put it that he was just sarcastic while they quoted his statement, “maybe it was my fault.” Liars love exclusion qualifiers  they use it often in their vocabulary. 

Because the word “maybe” in his statement, “maybe it was my fault,” is called an exclusion qualifier, a category in deception detection called a deceptive verbal behavior indicator, it is usually used by deceptive persons to enable them from withholding information of any serious situations or when they are faced with answering an incriminating question usually as liars they will not disclose to you all of the information that are truths to avoid taking accountability and responsibility. Other examples these liars use frequently are words like “basically” “fundamentally,” “probably,” “essentially,” “for the most part,” and “most often.”

After saying, “maybe” Mahathir said, “how would I know?” This, “how would I know?” is another lying indicator telling us directly that he can do no wrong and that he is 'innocent' proving to us what we all know him all along to be a legend in fooling others, very often using the part in deceptive behavior called selective memory, ('mudah lupa syndrome') where a deceptive person creates a psychological alibi by responding to a critical situation or a question with a stated inability to remember or to say, “how would I know,” as a tool in the deception arsenal with a stated inability to know why he had lost the by-election severely when the truth is he knows that it is his referendum by the people from North to South and he certainly knows and ought to know the truth as a leader. 

Therefore he was not been truthful but was only pretending ignorance to avoid taking full responsibility. In truth a leader who does not know the truth must resign for not knowing because how can a leader win and lead when he does not know how to lead and win?

This selective memory tool of deception was used again when he said, “we don’t yet know whether the country is ready for a transition of power or not". If you had noticed, Mahathir Mohamad had not in one but in two instances said, “how would I know?”  And second when he said, “we don’t yet know whether the country is ready for a transition of power or not."  Clearly he was demonstrating deceptive behavioral ploys of avoiding to disclose the truths by not providing the incriminating specifics in both instances that would only point the finger at the dismal by-election performance to his policies and of his leadership.

When he said, “We don’t yet know whether the country is ready for a transition of power or not. When the time comes, we will decide,” It is a big lie because it is clearly evident that Mahathir Mohamad is only adamant and insisting on staying on as Prime Minister, despite the fact that he knows that he is the main reason why the people voted decisively and colossally against the party Bersatu and the alliance Pakatan Harapan at the by-election. 

Again when we analyze his words, “WE don’t yet know whether the country is ready for a transition of power or not”, who is the ‘WE’ that Mahathir Mohamad is talking about. The ‘We’ here is an unintended message or a truthful statement made by a deceptive person that, when the literal meaning of the statement and word is analyzed it conveys information that the deceptive person does not realize he’s conveying. It is also referred to as, the “truth in the lie.” 

Certainly then the ‘We’ he is referring to, are his cronies, those who have selfish interest in his continuous leadership. Again, what is it that makes him think that the country or Malaysians are not ready? Isn’t the social media widespread in its belief and comments accusing him for the poor performance, indicating that the vast majority of people are actually ready and want a transformation of leadership? 

One thing we are all certain and there is no doubt about it, with the power of the social media today, we Malaysians can honestly say, Pakatan Harapan can be defeated in another coming by-election and the next General Election if Mahathir Mohamad still continues on as the never ending Prime Minister. 

The other thing that is certain is that Hishamuddin and company together with Asmin about them joining Bersatu as a benefit in return for them not been dishonored. There are almost about a big number of  Members of Parliament who may jump ship into the Party Bersatu, (As fruits of the Malay Dignity Congress) and there are other unintended messages the 'truth in the lie' that is now happening at the serious negotiating stage to strengthen Bersatu. This scenario would be revealed later, as to the reasons why it is believed, you would know after it happens.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

How Mahathir Mohammad Fooled Malaysian Bloggers

A blogger in his article recently mentioned that they cannot be fooled, duped, or laughed at easily especially by politicians. I must agree our bloggers are people who are too perceptive to be fooled and laughed at. Nevertheless, I must say it is me who usually have the last laugh especially when these bloggers also say that Dr. Mahathir Mohammad is considered one of the most astute politicians in Malaysia.

I wish to say that not only can our Malaysian bloggers be easily fooled, but also our journalists, fellow politicians of Pakatan Harapan and our fellow Malaysian citizens too can be fooled by the master at fooling others, Dr. Mahathir Mohammad, if they don’t get to learn to read the indicators of both the verbal and the non-verbal when listening and looking for indicators of deception whenever Dr. Mahathir Mohammad speaks. 

If our bloggers feel they are not easy to be fooled then have a look at the clip below where Dr. Mahathir Mohammad was seen and heard speaking to those assembled bloggers at the Perdana Leadership foundation some years ago. 

Here he was seen exhibiting the expression of fear of been caught lying and subsequently exhibiting the Pinocchio effect of lying after the lie, as well as enjoying himself after the lie with a duping delight. A duping delight is the pleasure of being able to lie and manipulate someone, often made visible by flashing a smile at an inappropriate moment. 

We all know for sure and obviously that Dr. Mahathir Mohammad does not like bloggers who often call him names and of their straight forward articles often disapproving his views and policies. Despite all that negative feelings about bloggers, Dr. Mahathir Mohammad cunningly takes a shot by deceptively meaning that bloggers are important people when he says, “That is why we NEED bloggers” when the truth is, we all do know that he does not need them neither does he like bloggers and therefore he was verbally and physically not-congruent thereby he was subsequently caught and seen physically to be lying.

In analyzing the following clip, Dr. Mahathir Mohammad was exhibiting the fight or flight syndrome when he did the nose touch of deceit, a triggering mechanism of the autonomic nervous system that reroutes blood from the body’s major organs and muscle groups to prepare the body to deal with fear or a threatening situation. His exhibiting the expression of fear clearly seen on his face particularly his eyes was because he feared that if the bloggers were shrewd enough they would not be completely tricked or deceived by him and instead they would have booed him for that. Instead of all that, the bloggers were fooled by him when they responded by clapping in approval and we see he further showed another indicator of deceit and that of duping delight.  

The clip you'd see here below before the deceptive behaviors of Dr. Mahathir Mohammad is from the drama series Lie To Me, it is to establish the truth of the indicator on the Pinocchio effect of lying. 

Friday, November 1, 2019

Understanding Body Language

What is body language? A simple definition is that it is everything except the words. A complex answer would be that body language comprises the non-verbal elements of human communication the ones that complement the verbal elements, emphasize them, contradict them, administer them, repeat them, substitute for them and most of the time it tells the truth. 

Having said that about body language, let me also tell you that it isn’t really a language, it is an oxymoron or a poor description with incongruous words of what experts call nonverbal communication or more correctly non-linguistic communication.

It is the conscious and subconscious signaling of attitudes, desires and our inmost feelings of our bodies, movements, actions and tone of voice, sometimes challenging to interpret by the novice but understanding the truths reduces uncertainty and it is highly necessary, because they are more powerful than the spoken words. As it’s the supreme language of motion, tone and vibration all living species on planet earth enjoys, practices and communicates.

The elements of non-verbal language involve external signs such as posture, gesture, movement and voice tone, and include the strategic positioning of oneself and office furniture in relation to other people. In other words, body language is non-verbal communication through gesture, postures and positions. For example by watching and reading the behavior and actions of those we come face to face with, we improve our skills in handling people and gain insight into communicating with them. We also learn to sell ourselves effectively and in the process understand both others and ourselves better. 

Research on the non-verbal aspects of communication only began seriously and actively after the 1960’s when Desmond Morris, Michael Argyle, Edward T.Hall, Paul Ekman, and Julius Fast first promoted their books on body language in the early and mid-seventies. Today, some people are still ignorant of the existence of body language as a subject, let alone its importance in their lives.

Falling in love through eye contact, love at first sight, failing a job interview through wrong posture, discovering what your child’s emotions really are seeing behind words, identifying the signals of deception when truth matters, when to close a sale, are all examples of body language at work. Truly there are a lot of benefits in understanding body language, and they are for all people.

Truly it’s my personal belief that body language skills are essential for human success. Even though some do know that in a conversation more than 8% is verbal and less than 92% per cent is non-verbal, they are not constantly aware of this fact when dealing with people. The ability to read correctly and understand body language signals can mean the difference between winning and losing a sale or a negotiation, interview or in deception detection.

Sigmund Freud used body language as a tool in understanding his patients and people have since begun to realize that body language is here to stay. Today, it is taught in all colleges and universities in the west and east as a subject.

To my salespeople who attend my seminars, none would deny that the handshake aspects of body language are a revelation to them. At the same time, I have always stressed that awareness and an understanding of the various cultures in our community, their history and origins of gestures is important to a correct understanding of the behavioral aspects of body language.

Someone once asked me, why “if we all watch others and we read them, why do we need to study body language?” My answer is, “we can walk and we can run but we are not always athletes. The athlete has to train, and once he has reached a certain level of competence, he does not think about his training. He just does it.” Similarly, what a course in body language tries to give you is a trained eye, so that you understand the behavior of others through understanding body language without consciously having to go through the process of recollecting what you have learned.

American anthropologist Edward T. Hall, in his book The Hidden Dimension speaks of man’s spacious needs and has divided distance into four distinct zones; intimate, personal social and public zones. The distances of these zones vary depending on the culture and the area one is brought up in. To diplomats or businessmen travelling abroad, understanding the cultural differences of the people and the country they go to is important if they do not wish to be misunderstood.

As an example, I often quote an Arab practice called the Elbow Culture. When meeting someone an Arab stands very close to him so that if they were to fold their arms, their elbows would touch, because the Arabs believe in, “touch and smell”. In Malaysia, it’s the “palm culture’, that is, when you meet someone, you stand close enough so that if you stretch out your hands your palm would fall on the other person’s shoulder. As we believe in “sight and touch” more than the “smell and touch” of the Arabs.

So if an Arab comes close to you, closer than palm length, to your intimate zone, you may unconsciously feel threatened. You may try to take a step backwards, whereas the Arab is only adjusting to his culturally comfortable distance. If you travel abroad regularly, then it is to your benefit to become a gestural linguist. As gestures vary with different cultures and are very often misunderstood. With a lot of foreigners in Malaysia especially the Arabs, Malaysians can get into a fist fight easily with them if they do not tolerate these Arabs. 

I was in the Blue Line bus, a free service bus, in Kuala Lumpur last week, when a big sized Arab who was with his two other friends in the bus, cheerfully and loudly singing a tune went and sat in between two Indonesian elderly women and held them with his arms around them. While the two elderly women were visibly feeling rather awkward, a Chinese middle age gentleman got up from his seat and protested at length to the Arab man’s behavior and was almost going to hit him. Luckily the other two Arabs sensing trouble quickly sounded and got out of the bus followed by the rude Arab.

Similarly, if you are in Greece and if you used a gesture, often used in Malaysia when you are crossing the road, it can be a big insult to them. Let’s say you are in a restaurant in Greece and the Greek waiter approaches you for an order and because you don’t want to be disturbed momentarily and because the restaurant is noisy, you gesture with your hand stretched out with your palm opened to the waiter. It’s would be downright rude to a Greek waiter. As the origin of this insulting gesture dates back to the Byzantine period or during the Roman Empire where prisoners were often lined up with bonded chains and the public could show their hatred on them by carrying mud from the ground and had it rubbed on their faces with their outstretched palm as a sign of disgust and this gesture has lived to this day in Greece as a sign of insult to those when shown to them.

Likewise, a common Malaysian gesture of holding a closed hand to the ear to signify a telephone, if used on an Italian can be insulting too. To the latter, it means that he or she has been betrayed by his or her spouse. Another Malaysian gesture is the pointing of the thumb, with other fingers clenched, to show direction. This sign is an insult in certain parts of Europe as it means “get stuffed”. So beware if you want a lift in Europe, it’s safer not to use that signal at all. Motorist may mistake you for a gay. 

Another insulting gesture that Malaysian's use without realizing it, is the closed fist with the partly erect thumb used in showing direction in Malaysia. It is an offensive sign in Ghana.

Malaysians too have their share of been in the news for road bullying. I would suggests that the Road Transport Department here make it compulsory for learner drivers to learn positive hand gestures, eye contact and other body language signals to signify friendliness during their course before gaining the licence to drive. As I believe the right gestures can nip potential violence in the bud because by using positive hand and body language gestures, one can signal concern, approval, friendliness, understanding, empathy and the like. 

The study of the non-verbal aspects of communication may be new in Malaysia, but that does not mean that body language is new. It is as old as Adam and Eve. The Chinese have been aware of body language for a long time. If you listen to their proverbs it even warns you of a con man, “Watch out for the man whose stomach does not move when he laughs.” 

Jackson Beyond Learning International PLT would be organizing a 2 days course on the 3rd & 4th December 2019, at the DoubleTree By Hilton, Kuala Lumpur, on Critical Interviewing & Deception Detection. The science of this course is in its systematic approach to deception detection, proven in countless situations that through observation (Body Language) & listening, you can get to the truth successfully. 

To get to the truth, the course teaches you to overcome beliefs that people will not lie to you, teaches you how to overcome reliance on behavioral myths, how to overcome your communication difficulties and how to overcome your inescapable biases that can prejudice your chance to a correct judgment of truth during an interview, investigation or interrogation.

Since it’s a truth that behavioral clues to lies does not continually provide absolute evidence to crimes, it does however alerts you to further investigation and a scientific like analysis, where they can then uncover lies and reveal evidence on the truth, systematically rather than speculatively.

You would learn two other risks in detecting deceit, disbelieving-the-truth (judging a truthful person to be lying) and believing-a-lie (judging a liar to be truthful). Absence to signs of deceit is also not truth, because some people don’t leak. The same is in signs of deceit that is not always evidence of lying, as some people appear guilty even when they are truthful. Yet, you will learn that more than one indicator, a cluster, within a few seconds after a strategic question is asked or a stimulus given, the result is often the truth, which the suspect, witness, or the guilty is LYING.

If you need more information please email us.