It’s the time of year for football talk. I’m one of those people who say I just represent the team where I’m from and pay more attention to what kind of dip is on the table than the actual game…but nonetheless, observation is my forte so I mostly pay attention to what everyone’s doing around me instead. This particular day I was out with my friend and two men (both NC State fans) were discussing college football, in particular, NC State vs. UNC. Now mind you before this conversation started I already watched for a baseline.
Guy 1: Yeah they did pretty good last year I’m confident State will beat UNC *touches nose* (red flag #1)
Guy 2: Yeah we’ll see what happens
Guy 1: I know they’re going to win *touches back of neck* (red flag #2)
Guy 2: Well last year we won by a mile but the UNC game is unpredictable man…
Guy 1: I’m not sweatin it. *touches nose*
Oh buddy, yes you are.
This is a real life example of lie detection. Guy 1 did not believe for a second that his team was going to do well this year, as much as he wanted them to, his body language told us otherwise. It’s important in lie detection to first get a baseline. He was never touching his nose, neck, or doing any other kind of self-soothing gesture before this conversation. Secondly, look for a deviation from their norm, those are the red flags. It’s important to look for a cluster of red flags, if he just touched his nose once then that most likely doesn’t mean anything nonverbal-wise, but then he went on to touch his neck, and then his nose again, and more gestures as the conversation proceeded. When someone lies there are physiological effects that can take place. One being that the blood vessels in their nose expand when telling a lie, which causes people to touch their nose. Pinocchio wasn’t far off after all.