Curated by CLAI
SPOT THE LIAR: Most people think liars give themselves away by averting their eyes or making nervous gestures, and many law-enforcement officers have been trained to look for specific tics, like gazing upward in a certain manner. But in scientific experiments, people do a lousy job of spotting liars.
- Law-enforcement officers and other presumed experts are not consistently better at it than ordinary people even though they’re more confident in their abilities.
- There’s no evidence that these efforts have stopped a single terrorist or accomplished much beyond inconveniencing tens of thousands of passengers a year. The T.S.A. seems to have fallen for a classic form of self-deception: the belief that you can read liars’ minds by watching their bodies.
- Researchers have found that the best clues to deceit are verbal — liars tend to be less forthcoming and tell less compelling stories — but even these differences are usually too subtle to be discerned reliably.
WHO SMOKES? The national smoking rate has declined steadily, but there is a deep geographic divide. In the affluent suburbs of Washington, only about one in 10 people smoke. But in impoverished places like this — Clay County, in eastern Kentucky — nearly four in 10 do.
Americans with a high school education or less make up 40 percent of the population, but they account for 55 percent of the nation’s 42 million smokers.