Wednesday 8 August 2012

Share My Geeky Enjoyment

I am hugely excited right now.  I went to the library yesterday and found a copy of Telling Lies by Paul Ekman.  Ekman is the inspiration for Cal Lightman from the TV show Lie to Me.  I've been trying to find his book but was hampered by the fact that I couldn't remember his name and his general reluctance to be associated with the show.

Wandering the shelves at random has produced yet another hit.  Yay for me.

The reason I wanted his book is not because I'm particularly interested in lying but because he went into detailed descriptions of the physiological changes which happened during various emotional states.  Facial expression, voice changes, body language, hand gestures, all laid out.

One of the criticisms I've received about my writing is that I use the same emotional descriptors (clenching gut, blushing, etc), too often and across too many characters.  This gives me a chance to expand my repetoire and, since I'm taking notes, a reference I can use to avoid the problem in the future.

The book itself is quite interesting.  Ekman is clearly upset that his work is being used to declare people to be definitive liars or truthtellers when, in fact, his work is better at revealling the emotions which people are trying to conceal.  This can be a tool to detect liars but isn't foolproof.  The best example is detecting fear.  It's possible to assume the person is lying and is afraid they will be caught or punished.  But it's also possible for an innocent person to be afraid of being not believed.  And it's also possible for an accomplished and experienced liar to not be afraid because they are certain they won't get caught.

I will definitely be searching for a copy of my very own to use as a reference.

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