Monday, March 20, 2006

How to catch a liar? Bodylanguage myths exposed

We all think we know the signs of a liar - twitchy, nervous, blinking, doesn't want to look you straight in the eyes, strokes hair, touches nose.

Well, you're wrong, research shows. It's exactly the opposite. In a study of 130 volunteers, liars touched their noses and stroked their hair 15-20% less than truth tellers. Liars tend to be more still, with fewer movements.

So how do you catch a liar?

Well, look for signs that someone is suddenly more self conscious, more restrained, more concentrated. When the person does make hand gestures, it is to try to come across as honest. Look especially for the following signs:

- holding hands apart to indicate size
- touches the heart, a gesture of love and being genuine (see Bush picture)
(these gestures are used 25% more when lying, research has shown)

No doubt this data is culturally biased though.

Aside from the above hand gesture clues, you have to pay much closer attention. Liars usually don't give themselves away that easily. Look for changes in breathing, pupil dilation, skin flush, muscle tone changes, even pore size.

Also, look for exaggerated signs of honesty rather than stereotypical signs of lying. It's obvious in a way - liars make sure they avoid any body language that is commonly believed to indicate a liar, and try to imitate the body language of someone telling the truth. Acting - and therefore (indirectly) lying - is something we learn to do since we are very young. We learn to manipulate our body language to make it appropriate to the social situation.

So what about the looking to the right versus looking to the left tactic? (Looking right = invention, accessing part of the brain that constructs information, so would entail lying). Well, apparantly even that is a myth. We construct information even when telling the truth. But this could still be useful if we pay particular attention to what the person is saying - and if it involves constructing information.

So to catch a liar, you have to look closely for fake or exaggerated signs of honesty, listen carefully to see if body language contradicts what they're saying, and of course, ask lots of questions.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Family in Turkey walks on all fours

A family of ethnic Kurds has been found in Turkey that are quadrupedal - they walk on hands and feet. Is it a genetic defect? Or is it a missing link to our forebears, who started walking on two feet more than 2 million year ago?

Scientists are still speculating the shift to bipedalism - one theory is that it was merely to be able carry back a larger amount of food - enabling the upright bloke to feed a whole family back home rather than just oneself. Eventually the hands developed further, leading to the multi-functional hands we have today which can bounce basketballs up and down like no Gorilla can. [source: National Geographic]

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Fun with anagrams

Some celebrity names have really amazing and interesting anagrams. Here's a selection of the best:

Britney Spears: best PR in years
George W Bush: He grew bogus / Bush ego grew / Where bugs go
George Bush: He bugs Gore / O, he buggers / Huger BS ego
President Bush of the USA: A fresh one, but he's stupid
Madonna Louise Ciccone: occasional nude income / one cool dance musician
Justin Timberlake: I'm a jerk, but listen
President Clinton of the USA: he finds interns to copulate
Harry Potter: try hero part
William Shakespeare: I’ll make a wise phrase / I am a weakish speller
Milosevic: Cos I'm evil
Adolf Hitler: Do real filth / Heil, old fart
Osama bin Laden: A bad man (no lies)

Most of these are from:

In the theme of this blog, I tried finding some anagrams of my own:

Palmistry: Simply art
Dermatoglyphics: I'm Godly chapters / I'm God's chapterly

And how do the different palmistry systems fare?

Astrological palmistry: Rolls so pragmatically
Cheiro's palmistry: Is trashy compiler
Chinese palmistry: In mystical sphere / shapelier'n mystic
Chinese taoist chiromancy: Atheistic, concise harmony
Elemental palmistry: Sly, manlier template / Silly, temperamental
European palmistry: A monetary supplier / merry utopian pleas
Indian palmistry: I'm saintly 'n rapid / and mainly spirit
Oriental palmistry: Is really important
Traditional palmistry: Optimally sad irritant
Victorian palmistry: Inapt or rival mystic / Strip, I'm clairvoyant
English Victorian palmistry: Politely striving anarchism

The different palmistry systems were taken mostly from Christopher Jones' History of Handreading

Anagram genius was used to create these anagrams.