On any given day we’re lied to from 10 to 200 times, and the clues to detect those lie can be subtle and counter-intuitive. Pamela Meyer, author of Liespotting, shows the manners and “hotspots” used by those trained to recognize deception — and she argues honesty is a value worth preserving.



  • nitpicky – overly critical, esp. on trivial matters; focused on only trivial aspects
  • utterance – a spoken word, statement, or vocal sound
  • digerati – people who are knowledgeable about digital technologies such as computer programming and design
  • crux – the decisive or most important point at issue
  • white lie – a harmless or trivial lie, especially one told to avoid hurting someone’s feelings
  • morass – a complicated or confused situation
  • overdo – do, use, or carry to excess; exaggerate
  • lenient – (of a punishment or person in authority) more merciful or tolerant than expected
  • discrepancy – an illogical or surprising lack of compatibility or similarity between two or more facts


Think about it

Answer the questions below.

  • What is truth number one about lying? (pause @ 2:32)
  • What kind of gap does lying attempt to fill? (pause @ 4:05)
  • Do you remember some statistics about lying? (pause @ 4:58)
  • How early do humans start to lie? Are we the only species capable of lying? (pause @ 6:59)
  • How can we spot lying in speech patterns? (pause @ 9:04)
  • How can we spot lies in a person’s body language? (pause @ 10:01)
  • How can we spot liars in conversations and human-to-human interactions? (pause @ 11:54)
  • In what way is contempt different from any other facial expression? (pause @ 13:43)
  • What does Pamela say about oversharing?


Practice makes perfect

Fill in the blank spaces with the missing words. Use ONE word per blank space.

Lying has evolutionary value to us ________  a species. Researchers have long known that ________ more intelligent the species, ________ larger the neocortex, ________ more likely it is to be deceptive. Now you might remember Koko. Does anybody remember Koko the gorilla who ________ 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 ________ 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 ________ 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. ________ 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 ________ spam, fake digital friends, partisan media, ingenious identity thieves, world-class Ponzi schemers, a deception epidemic — ________ short, what one author calls a post-truth society. It’s ________ very confusing for a long time now.


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