Unlike this fella, good liars often appear very charismatic and this trait helps carry them through their lies.
Paul Ekman coined the term “duping delight” to explain possible reasons for an increase in certain cues while lying was taking place. For example, fear and guilt associated with lying should decrease nonverbal cues such as eye contact and smiles, but the research shows us that eye contact usually increases during lying. Ironically, it is the reverse that is commonly thought of by the general public to be true. That is, most people think that eye contact decreases during lying. Two possible explanations exist for an increase in eye contact and smiling. One is that smiling happens more often because the liar is experiencing pleasure with the act of lying which has been extensively proven through research on psychopaths, con-men and pathological liars, the second says that a smile is in fact due to stress and embarrassment which causes a stress smile. An increase in eye contact is also explained in terms of a desire to measure the efficacy of the lie. The liar holds eye contact to watch for signals of disbelief in his counterpart to allow him to calibrate his tactics accordingly. So by this reason, the liar holds eye contact more than truth tellers in order to gauge how well his lie is being pulled over on his victim and to revel in joy as his ploy washes over his victim.
Duping delight means that nearly any signal can be used during a lie to convey honesty, and the greater the pleasure felt by the liar, the more relaxed and honest they will appear. The converse can happen too, the duper can appear more excited and happy throwing a wrench in this signal as universal amongst liars. Signals of duping delight can include higher voice pitch, faster and louder speech, increases in nodding and smiles, and use of more illustrators. Also, the more a lie is being perceived as true, the stronger these signals will be since the excitement of the liar increases in tow. Thus, just because some signals are present, does not necessarily mean that at lie is either present or absent. Although the willful modification of our natural traits often make us appear more or less sincere. For example, a perpetual feigning of friendliness comes across as phony. Incidentally, things like voice pitch, which can be difficult to control amongst all other factors when lying, might go unusually high through anxiousness when the true intent was to appear enthusiastic. It is the difference between a normal interaction and one that is unusually energetic that gives the dupers away.
Some men are naturals – the rest of us need to work at it!
Research conducted in 2008 by Dr. Coreen Farris of Indiana University shows that men just don’t get it when it comes to sexual signals. Her study had an initial group of both males and females rate images based on four categories (called affect groupings): friendly, sexually interested, sad, or rejecting. From that sample they chose an additional set of eighty men and eighty women to rate the final images into affect groupings once again. A photo was kept if the majority of men and women categorized the picture into the same affect group. The results showed some interesting findings. Men not only mistook non-sexual cues for sexual cues, but they also mistook the sexual cues as non-sexual.
The confusion men have when rating women’s nonverbal sexual signals probably has everything to do with the fact that men have twenty times more testosterone than women and so their perception of the world is viewed through ‘sex-coloured-glasses’. In terms of evolution and efficacy of spreading their seed, this makes sense, even though at times it can lead to unwanted or embarrassing confusion. Because of men’s inability to read cues properly, this chapter is heavily aimed identifying cues that will help men read the signals more precisely. The subtext of the chapter though, is aimed squarely on women to turn them into better deliverers of their true intent so as to avoid unwanted solicitation. In other words, women carry a clear fifty percent share of the fault when it comes to poor courtship cues, as are men in reading them. If women can improve the clearness of their signals, men can, and will respond more appropriately. When it comes to men, a precise, direct signal is best.
Trying not to pay attention.
It’s not a stretch to say that reading attentive and evaluative body language is a useful skill for everyone at one time or another. For teachers, attentive and evaluative body language cues are useful to read student interest and their level of active thought, for sellers it provides a gauge to the efficacy of a pitch, and to acquaintances at a social even, the level of engagement.
A presenter at a conference might want to measure his story telling skills and so might look for cues to “undivided attention”. He might therefore be interested in shortening presentation points that create fidgeting and shuffling. The salesman, on the other hand, also wants to avoid boredom, but needs to watch for evaluative gestures such as chin stroking, flared nostrils, pinching the bridge of the nose and rubbing the back of the neck to see how close he is to closing the sale and what level of decision making is at hand in his target. Does a chin stroking mean he’s already made up his mind and is mulling things over, or is he just satisfying and itch?
Naturally, as the stakes rise, so too does the importance in reading evaluative and attentive body language accurately, so it is important to keep these cues at hand. In this chapter, “attentive” refers to the level of interest expressed during an interaction whereas “evaluative” delineates indicators that a decision is in the process of being made. This chapter, while brief, covers a significant subset of the body language that happens as people are in thought, give undivided attention or lack thereof and show that they are preparing to reach a decision. We also hit on the hidden meaning of glasses, hand steepling, neck rubbing and a subset of additional evaluative gestures we might encounter in our daily lives.
Head tilt shows interest.
The head tilted at forty-five degrees from the center line of the body indicates interest and intrigue. It says “I am receptive, comfortable, and friendly.” The head tilt is one of the very significant and prominent postures that everyone should be aware of, especially educators of any kind. A professor for example, can gauge his efficacy as an instructor by the degree to which his audience tilts their head. Head tilting is also very difficult to fake because our minds will resist the posture when we dislike what we are hearing or the people around us, making it a very honest and reliable gesture.
Head on, means passive listening for example, head slightly tilted shows moderate interest and head at its maximum forty-five degrees shows full immersion. A teacher might see variations across his audience, and also across the subject matter. Head tilting is not an all or nothing phenomenon. This makes it easy to measure the success of a presentation nonverbally and tweak it as necessary.
Dogs also tilt their head, usually by engaging them in human conversations, so the root of this mechanism could simply be the state of being confusion. The head tilt is also a submissive gesture as it exposes the neck making it vulnerable to attack. One of the more prominent courtship displays is the exposed neck, and when done by women, is particularly alluring. This is examined in a later chapter.