The Hallmark Channel provided the ideal opportunity, organizing a body language study day to promote its upcoming airing of Damages.
The drama stars Glenn Close as Patty Hewes, a ruthless litigation lawyer pursuing a class-action lawsuit against the former CEO of a multinational corporation.
With every single character playing fast and loose with the truth, they present ideal subjects for study. So what did your intrepid correspondent learn?
Firstly, and most importantly, there aren't any absolute indicators that can be used to determine whether someone's lying.
Reading the Tells
Those who are trained to pick out lies, like police officers, are looking for tics that deviate from an individual's normal behaviour but those tics can vary from person to person.
In general, though, there are a few key pointers to look out for.
The most crucial is that liars are trying to construct a false reality; they're trying to convince themselves that the lie is true as much as the person they're lying to.
So, for example, they may add unnecessary details to embellish the lie and fill uncomfortable pauses in the conversation.
Lies and More Lies
A liar's body language can be defensive, touching their face or scratching their nose (look at Bill Clintons famous "I did not have sexual relations with that woman" speech for an example!).
Or, conversely, the liar may be aware that their body language could give them away and appear stiff and unnatural, with few movements. A liar can also give themselves away by unconsciously positioning themselves away from their interrogator.
Facial expressions can be an important indicator of whether someones telling porkies. Unnatural smiles are a dead giveaway; in a genuine smile, the eyes crinkle and the forehead moves, while a fake smile only involves the mouth.
So, thanks to Hallmark and Impact Factory, Wotsat now knows whether you're leading us up the garden path. And Damages? It's complex and multilayered and addictive. Of course, we could be lying; you'll have to tune in on Sunday to find out.
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