18 Attributes of Highly Effective Liars, Characteristics of a Good Liar

18 Attributes of Highly Effective Liars.
 Have your heard of Machiavellianism? It is, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, "the employment of cunning and duplicity in statecraft or in general conduct Niccolò Machiavelli might well have titled his 16th-century Dell’arte Della Guerra (" The Art of War ") as The Art of Lying, since verbal deception—mainly, how to get away with it—was so central to his political psychology. To say that the exquisitely light-of-tongue are "talented" is, of course, sure to be met with moral outrage. We place a social premium on the ability to ferret out other people’s lies, especially, as we’ve seen just this week in the news, when they may hide brutal and ugly crimes.
Still, there is something darkly fascinating about those skilled in verbal legerdemain. And at least one team of scientists, led by Dutch psychologist Aldert Vrij , believes that it has identified the precise ingredients of "good liars." These researchers outline the following 18 traits (pdf) that, if ever they were to coalesce in a perfect storm of a single perpetrator, would strain even seasoned interrogators’ lie-detection abilities:
(1) manipulativeness. "Machiavellians" are pragmatic liars who aren’t fearful or anxious. They are "scheming but not stupid," explain the authors. "In conversations, they tend to dominate, but they also seem relaxed, talented and confident."
(2) acting. Good actors make good liars; receptive audiences encourage confidence.
(3) expressiveness. Animated people create favorable first impressions, making liars seductive and their expressions distracting.
(4) physical attractiveness. Fair or unfair, pretty people are judged as being more honest than unattractive people.
(5) natural performers. These people can adapt to abrupt changes in the discourse with a convincing spontaneity.
(6) experience. Prior lying helps people manage familiar emotions, such as guilt and fear, which can “leak” behaviorally and tip off observers.
(7) confidence. Like anything else, believing in yourself is half the battle; you’ve got to believe in your ability to deceive others.
(8) emotional camouflage. Liars "mask their stark inclination to show the emotional expressions they truly feel" by feigning the opposite affect. So you might see a liar cry, or rage to "cover their deception.
(9) eloquence. Eloquent speakers confound listeners with word play and buy extra time to ponder a plausible answer by giving long-winded responses.
(10) well-preparedness. This minimizes fabrication on the spot, which is vulnerable to detection.
(11) unverifiable responding. Concealing information ("I honestly don’t remember") is preferable to a constructed lie because it cannot be disconfirmed.
(12) information frugality. Saying as little as possible in response to pointed questions makes it all the more difficult to confirm or disconfirm details.
(13) original thinking. Even meticulous liars can be thrown by the unexpected, so the ability to give original, convincing, non-scripted responses comes in handy.
(14) rapid thinking. Delays and verbal fillers ("ums" and "ahs") signal deception, so good liars are quick-witted, thinking fast on their feet.
(15) intelligence. Intelligence enables an efficient shouldering of the “cognitive load” imposed by lying, since there are many complex, simultaneously occurring demands associated with monitoring one’s own deceptiveness.
(16) good memory. Interrogators’ ears will prick at inconsistencies. A good memory allows a liar to remember details without tripping in their own fibs.
(17) truth adherence. Lies that "bend the truth" are generally more convincing, and require less cognitive effort, than those that involve fabricating an entire story.
(18) decoding. The ability to detect suspicion in the listener allows the liar to make the necessary adjustments, borrowing from strategies in the preceding skill set. Liars can be readers of body language.
Why give the criminals such helpful advice? The authors anticipated these concerns, clarifying that they hope this knowledge will assist interrogators, rather than those sitting on the other side of the table. Furthermore, "Undoubtedly," they write, "this [work] provides tips that liars could use to make their performance more convincing, but most characteristics we mentioned are inherent, and related to personality."
In other words, there’s still a certain, inimitable je ne sais quoi to the great deluders. And should you find yourself so burdened with this particular type of genius, perhaps, as Mark Twain offered:
… the wise thing is to train [yourself] to lie thoughtfully,
judiciously; to lie with a good object, and not an evil one; to lie
for others’ advantage, and not [y]our own; to lie healingly,
charitably, humanely, not cruelly, hurtfully, maliciously; to lie
gracefully and graciously, not awkwardly and clumsily; to lie firmly,
frankly, squarely, with head erect, not haltingly, tortuously, with
pusillanimous mien, as being ashamed of [y]our high calling.
Good advice from Samuel, as always.
Image: Niccolò Machiavelli by Santi di Tito, from Wikimedia Commons
About The Author: Want more Bering in Mind? Follow Jesse on Twitter @JesseBering, visit www.jessebering.com, or friend Jesse on Facebook. Jesse is the author of newly released book, The Belief Instinct: The Psychology of Souls, Destiny and the Meaning of Life (W. W. Norton).

Patti Wood, MA, Certified Speaking Professional - The Body Language Expert. For more body language insights go to her website at http://PattiWood.net. Also check out the body language quiz on her YouTube Channel at http://youtube.com/user/bodylanguageexpert.

First Impressions Do Count!

First impressions do count: Research shows made-to-measure suit makes you appear more confident, successful September 16, 2011 (PhysOrg.com) -- It’s often said that we make judgments about people in the first three seconds of seeing them. Now new research from the University of Hertfordshire, in collaboration with Mathieson & Brooke Tailors (M&BT), shows how much clothing influences these opinions. The study shows that wearing a made-to-measure suit, rather than an off-the-peg equivalent, positively affects the judgments people make in those first three seconds. google_protectAndRun("render_ads.js::google_render_ad", google_handleError, google_render_ad);Ads by GoogleVistage® Gets Results. - Successful CEOs become members to get better business results! - Vistage.com In the research, conducted by the University of Hertfordshire and led by Professors Karen Pine and Ben Fletcher of the School of Psychology, over 300 participants (males and females aged from 14 to 67) viewed a series of separate images of a man and a woman for just 3 seconds. They were then asked to make ‘snap judgements’ about the person in the picture. When the man in the picture wore a made-to-measure suit he made a more favourable impression than when he wore a very similar off-the-peg suit of the same colour. People judged him to be more confident, successful, flexible and a higher earner than the same man wearing a similar high street equivalent. The man’s face in the picture was blanked out so these different judgments arose purely from observing his attire. Commenting on the importance of first impressions David Brooke of M&BT, who started his visiting tailoring business in 2004, says, “This research shows that twice as many people will view you as confident, flexible and successful in the first three seconds of seeing you if you are wearing a made-to-measure suit. We have believed for years that first impressions are important and now we can prove it. A made-to-measure, as opposed to an off-the-peg suit, gives you more confidence and ultimately success.” Speaking of her team’s findings, Professor Karen Pine says; “This research is very important in our ongoing work to better understand the psychology of fashion. This study endorses, with real evidence, the popular view that we make up our minds about people within the first three seconds of seeing them although this view comes mainly from research using human faces. In our study people formed very different views of the same faceless man or woman, in the same position, when an apparently minor change was made to what they were wearing. The two suits worn by the man looked very similar at first glance, yet the subtle differences clearly made an impact. This is big news for the fashion industry and certainly highlights the importance of good tailoring.” The findings of the research do raise obvious questions about the affordability of made-to-measure versus off-the-peg, particularly in the current economic climate. David Brooke is keen to answer them; “A made-to-measure suit is undoubtedly more expensive than some high street suits, but does not need to break the bank. In fact, an M&BT made-to-measure suit is always better quality and lasts far longer than off-the-peg suits.” He continues, “A bespoke, or made-to-measure suit, in light of this research, must be seen as an investment in your career and an essential ingredient to your personal success.” The University of Hertfordshire will be publishing the research in a peer-reviewed journal. The executive summary and key findings can be found here: blogs.herts.ac.uk/research/ . Provided by University of Hertfordshire

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2011-09-made-to-measure-confident-successful.html#jCp

Patti Wood, MA, Certified Speaking Professional - The Body Language Expert. For more body language insights go to her website at http://PattiWood.net. Also check out the body language quiz on her YouTube Channel at http://youtube.com/user/bodylanguageexpert.