CHAOSTOCOSMOS

Monday, 20 October 2008

You Can Definitely Spot a Liar

"Maybe you have good instincts. Or maybe you just have a lot of experience with liars. Either way, it's pretty hard for someone to pull a fast one on you. You're like a human lie detector."

Can You Spot a Liar?

NOTE: If you intend to take the quiz, I suggest doing it now (I'll wait here), because some of my comments might influence your answers otherwise.

Mine is certainly the result I hoped for - I doubt my own abilities so much, because they're dismissed so often - yet, I do put my ability down to both instinct (that I'm learning to trust) and considerable experience with liars.

The most interesting question was the one asking which reaction is the indication of lying; someone who continues to defend themselves after the subject has been changed, or someone who is happy it was changed.

Or, as this article states:

Watch and listen carefully, when someone is accused of something and they are innocent, usually they will resent the accusations and want to explore the topic further. When the conversation changes direction is the person glad the subject has changed instead of wanting to know where this fantasy came from. The guilty want the subject changed.

I don't bloody Adam and Eve it!

Yes, my mother has appeared happy for subjects to be changed or dropped recently and observing her do this has become my barometer for gauging what she really means and, an antidote to her tendency for confusing, "Long answers, beyond what is normal [] often used to distract and deflect."

Those haven't been the only traits (by far), that I've observed that have made me believe that she's telling untruths, perhaps even knowingly, but one tends to "excuse" old people on the basis that they probably don't have a clue WTF they've said and, would therefore find lying impossible.

And, despite 50 years of observation that tells me otherwise, one tends not to want to believe that one's own mother is prize porkie pie teller either, but I've seen enough of these behaviours recently to think very differently now.

And, the more research I do, looking for answers, the more it looks like we may well even be dealing with a case of pathological lying.

The key to the problem, I think, can be summed up in, "Be sure that the more insecure someone is the more they are prone to lying."

You'd be hard pressed to find anyone who demonstrates greater feelings of insecurity than my mother (other than me, as a result of it.) She absolutely refuses to acknowledge it though and has spent her whole life avoiding everything she doesn't like, instead of confronting and overcoming fears.

Now she's had around 80 years experience in massaging the truth, trying desperately to make herself look better than she feels she is. You know and I know that her laughable actions have the exact opposite effect to the one she intends, but she just doesn't have the education to see that, despite the fact that she is very sharp in other ways and very capable of duplicity.

However, reading this explanation:

Young children learn from experience that stating an untruth can avoid punishment for misdeeds, before they develop the theory of mind necessary to understand why it works. In this stage of development, children will sometimes tell fantastic and unbelievable lies because they lack the conceptual framework to judge whether a statement is believable or even to understand the concept of believability.

That statement rings so true, I can honestly say that it seems my mother has never mentally progressed past this point of maturity. She doesn't want to.

Fantasy and wishful thinking make things true for her, without any need for actual experience, knowledge or dealing with grown up things.

It's all terribly sad really, but that does not excuse the lying and, especially not the egotistical, cruel, nasty backstabbing that goes along with it that - also probably because she's practiced it so long - she truly appears to enjoy.

Unfortunately too, my human lie detecting ability, no matter how good, is not entirely infallible and it certainly was duped in phone conversations, such that the whole situation presented to me while I was still in Tenerife, bears absolutely no relation to reality, now that I've seen for myself.

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