Spot the Liar and Smoker

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.
Spot the liar

Spot the Liar (NYTIMES)

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.

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