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  • Okay, now I don't want to alarm anybody in this room,

  • but it's just come to my attention

  • that the person to your right is a liar.

  • (Laughter)

  • Also, the person to your left is a liar.

  • Also the person sitting in your very seats is a liar.

  • We're all liars.

  • What I'm going to do today

  • is I'm going to show you what the research says about why we're all liars,

  • how you can become a liespotter

  • and why you might want to go the extra mile

  • and go from liespotting to truth seeking,

  • and ultimately to trust building.

  • Now speaking of trust,

  • ever since I wrote this book, "Liespotting,"

  • no one wants to meet me in person anymore, no, no, no, no, no.

  • They say, "It's okay, we'll email you."

  • (Laughter)

  • I can't even get a coffee date at Starbucks.

  • My husband's like, "Honey, deception?

  • Maybe you could have focused on cooking. How about French cooking?"

  • So before I get started, what I'm going to do

  • is I'm going to clarify my goal for you,

  • which is not to teach a game of Gotcha.

  • Liespotters aren't those nitpicky kids,

  • those kids in the back of the room that are shouting, "Gotcha! Gotcha!

  • Your eyebrow twitched. You flared your nostril.

  • I watch that TV show 'Lie To Me.' I know you're lying."

  • No, liespotters are armed

  • with scientific knowledge of how to spot deception.

  • They use it to get to the truth,

  • and they do what mature leaders do everyday;

  • they have difficult conversations with difficult people,

  • sometimes during very difficult times.

  • And they start up that path

  • by accepting a core proposition,

  • and that proposition is the following:

  • Lying is a cooperative act.

  • Think about it, a lie has no power whatsoever by its mere utterance.

  • Its power emerges

  • when someone else agrees to believe the lie.

  • So I know it may sound like tough love,

  • but look, if at some point you got lied to,

  • it's because you agreed to get lied to.

  • Truth number one about lying: Lying's a cooperative act.

  • Now not all lies are harmful.

  • Sometimes we're willing participants in deception

  • for the sake of social dignity,

  • maybe to keep a secret that should be kept secret, secret.

  • We say, "Nice song."

  • "Honey, you don't look fat in that, no."

  • Or we say, favorite of the digiratti,

  • "You know, I just fished that email out of my spam folder.

  • So sorry."

  • But there are times when we are unwilling participants in deception.

  • And that can have dramatic costs for us.

  • Last year saw 997 billion dollars

  • in corporate fraud alone in the United States.

  • That's an eyelash under a trillion dollars.

  • That's seven percent of revenues.

  • Deception can cost billions.

  • Think Enron, Madoff, the mortgage crisis.

  • Or in the case of double agents and traitors,

  • like Robert Hanssen or Aldrich Ames,

  • lies can betray our country,

  • they can compromise our security, they can undermine democracy,

  • they can cause the deaths of those that defend us.

  • Deception is actually serious business.

  • This con man, Henry Oberlander,

  • he was such an effective con man

  • British authorities say

  • he could have undermined the entire banking system of the Western world.

  • And you can't find this guy on Google; you can't find him anywhere.

  • He was interviewed once, and he said the following.

  • He said, "Look, I've got one rule."

  • And this was Henry's rule, he said,

  • "Look, everyone is willing to give you something.

  • They're ready to give you something for whatever it is they're hungry for."

  • And that's the crux of it.

  • If you don't want to be deceived, you have to know,

  • what is it that you're hungry for?

  • And we all kind of hate to admit it.

  • We wish we were better husbands, better wives,

  • smarter, more powerful,

  • taller, richer --

  • the list goes on.

  • Lying is an attempt to bridge that gap,

  • to connect our wishes and our fantasies

  • about who we wish we were, how we wish we could be,

  • with what we're really like.

  • And boy are we willing to fill in those gaps in our lives with lies.

  • On a given day, studies show that you may be lied to

  • anywhere from 10 to 200 times.

  • Now granted, many of those are white lies.

  • But in another study,

  • it showed that strangers lied three times

  • within the first 10 minutes of meeting each other.

  • (Laughter)

  • Now when we first hear this data, we recoil.

  • We can't believe how prevalent lying is.

  • We're essentially against lying.

  • But if you look more closely,

  • the plot actually thickens.

  • We lie more to strangers than we lie to coworkers.

  • Extroverts lie more than introverts.

  • Men lie eight times more about themselves

  • than they do other people.

  • Women lie more to protect other people.

  • If you're an average married couple,

  • you're going to lie to your spouse

  • in one out of every 10 interactions.

  • Now you may think that's bad.

  • It you're unmarried, that number drops to three.

  • Lying's complex.

  • It's woven into the fabric of our daily and our business lives.

  • We're deeply ambivalent about the truth.

  • We parse it out on an as-needed basis,

  • sometimes for very good reasons,

  • other times just because we don't understand the gaps in our lives.

  • That's truth number two about lying.

  • We're against lying,

  • but we're covertly for it

  • in ways that our society has sanctioned

  • for centuries and centuries and centuries.

  • It's as old as breathing.

  • It's part of our culture, it's part of our history.

  • Think Dante, Shakespeare,

  • the Bible, News of the World.

  • (Laughter)

  • Lying has evolutionary value to us as a species.

  • Researchers have long known

  • that the more intelligent the species,

  • the larger the neocortex,

  • the more likely it is to be deceptive.

  • Now you might remember Koko.

  • Does anybody remember Koko the gorilla who was taught sign language?

  • Koko was taught to communicate via sign language.

  • Here's Koko with her kitten.

  • It's her cute little, fluffy pet kitten.

  • Koko once blamed her pet kitten

  • for ripping a sink out of the wall.

  • (Laughter)

  • We're hardwired to become leaders of the pack.

  • It's starts really, really early.

  • How early?

  • Well babies will fake a cry,

  • pause, wait to see who's coming

  • and then go right back to crying.

  • One-year-olds learn concealment.

  • (Laughter)

  • Two-year-olds bluff.

  • Five-year-olds lie outright.

  • They manipulate via flattery.

  • Nine-year-olds, masters of the cover up.

  • By the time you enter college,

  • you're going to lie to your mom in one out of every five interactions.

  • By the time we enter this work world and we're breadwinners,

  • we enter a world that is just cluttered

  • with spam, fake digital friends,

  • partisan media,

  • ingenious identity thieves,

  • world-class Ponzi schemers,

  • a deception epidemic --

  • in short, what one author calls

  • a post-truth society.

  • It's been very confusing

  • for a long time now.

  • What do you do?

  • Well there are steps we can take

  • to navigate our way through the morass.

  • Trained liespotters get to the truth 90 percent of the time.

  • The rest of us, we're only 54 percent accurate.

  • Why is it so easy to learn?

  • There are good liars and there are bad liars. There are no real original liars.

  • We all make the same mistakes. We all use the same techniques.

  • So what I'm going to do

  • is I'm going to show you two patterns of deception.

  • And then we're going to look at the hot spots and see if we can find them ourselves.

  • We're going to start with speech.

  • (Video) Bill Clinton: I want you to listen to me.

  • I'm going to say this again.

  • I did not have sexual relations

  • with that woman, Miss Lewinsky.

  • I never told anybody to lie,

  • not a single time, never.

  • And these allegations are false.

  • And I need to go back to work for the American people.

  • Thank you.

  • Pamela Meyer: Okay, what were the telltale signs?

  • Well first we heard what's known as a non-contracted denial.

  • Studies show that people who are overdetermined in their denial

  • will resort to formal rather than informal language.

  • We also heard distancing language: "that woman."

  • We know that liars will unconsciously distance themselves

  • from their subject

  • using language as their tool.

  • Now if Bill Clinton had said, "Well, to tell you the truth ... "

  • or Richard Nixon's favorite, "In all candor ... "

  • he would have been a dead giveaway

  • for any liespotter than knows

  • that qualifying language, as it's called, qualifying language like that,

  • further discredits the subject.

  • Now if he had repeated the question in its entirety,

  • or if he had peppered his account with a little too much detail --

  • and we're all really glad he didn't do that --

  • he would have further discredited himself.

  • Freud had it right.

  • Freud said, look, there's much more to it than speech:

  • "No mortal can keep a secret.

  • If his lips are silent, he chatters with his fingertips."

  • And we all do it no matter how powerful you are.

  • We all chatter with our fingertips.

  • I'm going to show you Dominique Strauss-Kahn with Obama

  • who's chattering with his fingertips.

  • (Laughter)

  • Now this brings us to our next pattern,

  • which is body language.

  • With body language, here's what you've got to do.

  • You've really got to just throw your assumptions out the door.

  • Let the science temper your knowledge a little bit.

  • Because we think liars fidget all the time.

  • Well guess what, they're known to freeze their upper bodies when they're lying.

  • We think liars won't look you in the eyes.

  • Well guess what, they look you in the eyes a little too much

  • just to compensate for that myth.

  • We think warmth and smiles

  • convey honesty, sincerity.

  • But a trained liespotter

  • can spot a fake smile a mile away.

  • Can you all spot the fake smile here?

  • You can consciously contract

  • the muscles in your cheeks.

  • But the real smile's in the eyes, the crow's feet of the eyes.

  • They cannot be consciously contracted,

  • especially if you overdid the Botox.

  • Don't overdo the Botox; nobody will think you're honest.

  • Now we're going to look at the hot spots.

  • Can you tell what's happening in a conversation?

  • Can you start to find the hot spots

  • to see the discrepancies

  • between someone's words and someone's actions?

  • Now I know it seems really obvious,

  • but when you're having a conversation

  • with someone you suspect of deception,

  • attitude is by far the most overlooked but telling of indicators.

  • An honest person is going to be cooperative.

  • They're going to show they're on your side.

  • They're going to be enthusiastic.

  • They're going to be willing and helpful to getting you to the truth.

  • They're going to be willing to brainstorm, name suspects,

  • provide details.

  • They're going to say, "Hey,

  • maybe it was those guys in payroll that forged those checks."

  • They're going to be infuriated if they sense they're wrongly accused

  • throughout the entire course of the interview, not just in flashes;

  • they'll be infuriated throughout the entire course of the interview.