Is "Lie to Me" Real?

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Authors of series on Body Language offer a system to turn you into Cal Lightman--and then some.

Greg Hartley and Maryann Karinch go a giant step beyond the human polygraph Dr. Cal Lightman on the new Fox show "Lie to Me:" They not only spot liars, they teach you how to detect deception, mask your own emotions, and get people to divulge what they're thinking.

In their bestselling books, How to Spot a Liar, I Can Read You Like a Book, and Get People to Do What You Want (Career Press), the co-authors draw on Hartley's extensive, personal experience as an Army interrogator and instructor for interrogation, resistance to interrogation and body language. Hartley's expertise in non-coercive interrogation techniques has made him a regular media resource.

"Simply telling whether or not someone is lying from cues is one part of the skill set of the professional interrogator," says Hartley. "That's actually the easiest part anyone can learn to diagnose from symptoms. The tougher parts are reading a person to understand what he is thinking and what motivates him, and then using all of this knowledge to motivate the behavior you want."

"Just like in the new show 'Lie to Me,' these skill levels are compounding," explains Hartley, "with beginners having the ability to apply one set, apprentices another set, and masters, yet another."

The progressive levels of skill reflect how the authors developed their books. The three books build on one another to introduce Hartley's tools and concepts to the reader.

What the Books Tell You
In How to Spot a Liar, they introduce the reader to indicators of deception. Here are three examples:

  • Look for shifts in behavior. For most normal people, lying creates some level of stress. You need to know how the person behaves normally, when there is no stress--his baseline--to see an increase in stress.
  • Usually, there is a change in pitch of voice, as well how people use speech, when they lie. The way they tell a story can be a strong indicator. They might insert incongruous details, for example.
  • Body signs give hints, too. Baselining will tell you whether your subject's foot-tapping is normal or reveals stress.

I Can Read You Like a Book moves to the next level by introducing a system called R.E.A.D. for scanning and interpreting anyone's body language, enabling people to figure out what others are really saying or feeling: Review, Evaluate, Analyze, Decide.

Get People to Do What You Want segues into the masterful application of Hartley's techniques in improving one-on-one interaction, shifting group dynamics, projecting leadership, and winning people over.

What the Books Prepare You For
While the material in the books is a foundation for cultivating true expertise, Hartley has developed a training program to move would-be apprentices through the stages. Visit http://www.mindatwar.com for details.

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Laurie Pye