Nonverbal Communication in Lie to Me

In the episode “Double Blind”, Lightman and his colleagues are hired after a museum robbery.

They are to examine the art museum staff to ensure no security information gets out before the major exhibition coming up. During the investigation, Lightman becomes involved in a game of cat-and-mouse with a beautiful woman named Naomi. Naomi ends up being part of the con-artist group that robbed the museum.In this episode, along with others, there are various scenes in which viewers see Lightman and his group interrogate suspects and point out facial expressions and movements of the body that indicate a lie (or something hidden) versus the truth being told. We can also see the Lightman group subconsciously cross-examine regular people as they are trained experts in the field of deception and psychology. Although there is no fool-proof universal signal for deception, there are many gestures, behaviors, and various body language that reveals certain emotions and communicates nonverbally to those witnessing these expressions.

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Some common indications include haptics, proxemics, chronemics, paralanguage, silence, body position and motion, gestures, facial expressions, and much more. In the episode “Dirty Blind”, the experts utilize cues such as blink rates, vocal tone, pupil dilation, body movement, etc. as signals of heightened anxiety or stress. So, although there is no way of telling if the observed stress is caused by lying or by something else, these observations can help to pinpoint deception or the truth in many situations.

In fact, humans are believed to lie, or deceive in some way, approximately three times in every ten minutes of conversation! The series “Lie to Me” is completely based off the science of what is communicated nonverbally from person to person. It uses the suppressed expressions which seem to simply slip out before realized and are then quickly replaced with more acceptable reactions that each and every one of us execute in every day interactions to demonstrate the idea that it is impossible to not communicate. Said or unsaid, we communicate with one another by indications other than actual words of our language being spoken.



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