Monday, February 11, 2008

Derren Brown Meets the Lying Ape

You might have heard of Brian King's book, "The Lying Ape" (released in 2006), but did you know it features a cameo by Derren Brown?

The book discuss various aspects of lying. It is an easy read and only moderately inciteful until page 177, where the how-to-tell-when-someone-is-lying section begins.

The author interviews DB for guidance in detecting lies. Derren offers the following:

My approach is to look for the truth pattern and look for how it is broken. So, for example, if I ask what you had for dinner last night, as you think about it, your natural response will be for your eyes to move somehwere; more often than not it is up and to the left if you are trying to remember something. our eye movement correlates to the part of the brain you are using.

But if I ask what you want for breakfast tomorrow, or how would you like to decorate your house - where the thing hasn't happened and you have to construct information - you have to use a different part of the brain and your eyes will, correspondingly, move to a different place.

Derren goes on to explain that the eye positions that correlate to different modes of thought differ person-to-person. So, for example, it would be incorrect to say that everyone looks up and to the left when trying to remember something -- though that is certainly the case for many people.

The lesson here is one that Derren repeats in his book, Tricks of the Mind: If you want to understand people, you have to pay attention to them. Watch for patterns in people's behavior and you will soon be able to receive more information than they intend to give away.

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