We later find out that Terry lied when he said he just owed twelve grand. Did Lightman miss it? With people we know well and with whom we are emotionally involved, we often fail to recognize signs of lying. We want to believe them; we overlook what total strangers might recognize. That’s why the cuckolded spouse is the last one to know what is happening.
Twice winners of the international poker tournament in Las Vegas sought me out. They claimed that they had won (more than a million dollars!) because they could spot bluffs. I tested them on how well they could distinguish lies from truthful responses during an interrogation. They were not much better than chance. Their knowledge was specialized to the very few behaviors that were shown in classical poker games – picking up cards, putting them down, moving chips, making a movement to indicate the wish to draw more cards. Today, in televised poker the game has changed; people talk for the camera and to each other, so my work might have more application.
Torres claims that the student’s body language and face show homicidal intent. I have been working for a number of years to identify when a person is about to physically assault someone. The research is not yet finished, and I don’t know yet if it will succeed. Unfortunately, some people who know my findings are not treating them as preliminary, but are going ahead to train people before the findings are in.
Foster realizes she misinterpreted signs of suicidal intent as homicidal intent. Both are very hard to spot; although they share signs of determination.
Lightman says “it is what we call in the trade a shrug fragment”. Symbolic gestures, like the shrug, don’t add much new information when they repeat what is said. But just a fragment of the gesture can leak true feelings or beliefs, like a slip of the tongue, contradicting the words. After facial expressions, gestures that contradict the words are the most important clue that some one may be lying.