Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Liar, liar

One thing I am always a little surprised by is how horrified people are of the idea of sociopath mask-wearing and lying. Doesn't everybody? The main difference seems to be what sorts of things people bother to lie about? Maybe not even that? From the New Yorker blog's "How to Tell When Someone is Lying":

People lie all the time. According to the psychologist Robert Feldman, who has spent more than four decades studying the phenomenon, we lie, on average, three times during a routine ten-minute conversation with a stranger or casual acquaintance. Hardly anyone refrains from lying altogether, and some people report lying up to twelve times within that time span. I might open a conversation, for instance, by saying how nice it is to meet someone—when I’m really not at all happy about it. I might go on to say that I grew up in Boston—a lie, technically, since I really grew up in a small town about forty minutes outside the city. I could say that the person’s work sounds fascinating, when it’s no such thing, or compliment him on his (drab) tie or his (awful) shirt. And if the person mentions loving a certain downtown restaurant where I’ve had a terrible experience? I’m likely to just smile and nod and say, Yes, great place. Trust me: we often lie without giving it so much as a second thought.

We lie in most any context—Feldman’s work has turned up frequent lies in relationships ranging from the most intimate (marriage) to the completely casual. Some lies are small (“You look like you’ve lost a bit of weight”) and some bigger (“I did not have sex with that woman”). Sometimes they are harmless, and sometimes they are not.

Interestingly, although it is very difficult to become a personal lie-detector, studies suggest that people are pretty ok at subconsciously detecting lying:

In a series of studies, out this month in the journal Psychological Science, the Berkeley team had students watch a video of a possible criminal who was being questioned about stealing a hundred dollars. As in an actual interrogation, the suspect responded to both baseline questions (“What are you wearing?” “What’s the weather like outside?”) and target questions (“Did you steal the money?” “Are you lying to me right now?”). Half of the potential criminals were lying; half were telling the truth. Each participant watched one truthful and one deceptive video.

Next, the students completed a simple assessment: Were the pleaders in the videos telling the truth? Just as in prior studies, ten Brinke’s subjects, when asked direct questions, did no better than chance at determining who was truthful and who wasn’t.

But then the students participated in one of two unconscious lie-detection tasks. In each, they saw still photos of the two pleaders alongside words that were associated with either truth, such as “honest” and “genuine,” or lies, such as “deceitful” and “dishonest.” Their goal was to categorize the words as indicative of either truth or lies, as quickly and accurately as possible, regardless of the face they saw along with it. If “genuine” flashed on the screen, they would press a button to classify it as a truth-category word as soon as possible.

When the researchers dug deeper, they saw that the participants’ unconscious instinct fared far better: in both studies, they were significantly faster at properly categorizing lie- and truth-related concepts when those concepts were presented with the lying or truthful face, respectively, from the video. Seeing a liar’s face made people faster at classifying lie-related words than truth-related words—and seeing a truth-teller had the opposite effect. “When you see a liar’s face, the concept of deception is activated in your mind even if you’re not consciously aware of it,” ten Brinke hypothesizes. “It’s still unclear just how high a percentage of lies our unconscious mind is able to sense accurately, but discrimination is definitely occurring.”

Unconscious discrimination seems to play out in more life-like scenarios, too. In a series of prior studies, conducted by an unrelated group at the University of Manheim, the psychologist Marc-AndrĂ© Reinhard and his colleagues found that the ability of student judges to detect deception improved drastically if they were given time to think—but only if, in that time frame, they thought about something other than the case they were judging. If they had to make an immediate judgment, they did no better than chance. The same was true if they were allowed to deliberate consciously. But when they were kept from consciously deliberating, by, for example, completing a demanding word-search puzzle, their accuracy improved significantly. Reinhard concluded that, in the unconscious-deliberation condition, the brain had had time to integrate the subtle cues that our conscious mind can’t quite perceive into a more complete judgment.

Why is it so hard for people to spot sociopaths then? Could it be that some people are willfully blind?

34 comments:

  1. Bitchfest: It is not the lying that is so upsetting to "people of a normal empathy". It is the fact that you do not care enough to avoid hurting your friends and loved ones. Yes we all lie.
    Vitimless lies:
    " Ok you are fat. O)k I am from here but only lived there as a child. Ok I hate your apple pie."
    Victim hurting lies:
    I love you. I am not sleeping with anyone else. ETC.
    And It is the wording. I love you=I love you at this moment while you are sucking my dick. I fucked her, but I didn't sleep with her= I fucked her and then left her at her house.

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  2. All I Know is that I live M.E.'s "lies" as I love M.E.!

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  3. I've been reading M.E.'s book, and while some behaviors and thoughts of hers are strikingly similar to mine, there are sufficient differences to suggest we're of different breeds. I am sure that if I acted with total honesty I would not be diagnosed as a sociopath.

    I do recall a specific memory that's mildly interesting. I was in middle school, and the topic of empathy came up. I was very intelligent as a child, so it stood out when a concept was discussed that I couldn't grasp. The concept of feeling what other people felt was completely foreign! At one point it was described as, 'putting yourself in someone else's shoes'. That clicked for me. I could imagine myself as being in someone else's position, so I did in fact have empathy and concluded that I was normal.

    As for lies, I can tell two different types. There's the lie I'll tell that I want to be discovered, and the one I'll tell that I don't want to be discovered. If I want to be discovered, it's usually framed as an affirmation to a query "How was your day, how are things going for you?" If things aren't okay, I can display classic signs of deception, because things are not okay and I want to talk about them. I want you to press, but I don't want to come across as a self-centered whiny bitch (despite that being largely true).

    The other type of lie I'll tell is the one I don't want discovered. Just as I must deliberately show signs of deception if I seek discovery, I may also deliberately ensure those signs are not shown. It's not difficult, it's almost like deciding to be sarcastic or not, it's a change in tone, inflection, and body language that indicates what you say is not what you mean.

    So, if someone meets me, they're not going to see me as some cold-hearted master of deception. I'm going to lie sometimes, and it's going to look like any other person lying. So, there are no red flags. Occasionally, though, I'm going to tell a lie I don't want discovered, and it never will be. I've never been caught telling a lie that I didn't want discovered. Maybe sociopaths are similar?

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    1. You identify M.E as a sociopath, since you stated you are of different breeds & guarantee you wouldn't be diagnosed as a sociopath. Yet, you have 'strikingly similar behaviors & thoughts'. Then there's your middle school memory, where you rationalized the concept of empathy in order for you to understand it.(Yes?)

      What I believe this is, is former sociopath, now a sane individual with the sociopathic superpowers that may come in handy. Thats why you share similar postures, but you differ with M.E because you probably recognize she hasn't reached the point of rationalizing empathy.

      It makes sense to me. I kind of 'rationalize my reasoning', I hope its coherent.

      I identify all of this from my part, which means its kind of contradictory to call myself 'MR 18yr old socio'; but I appreciate the double bluff, because I am aware I have been a sociopath & overcome it before i could be diagnosed, but keep some sociopathic traits. Its like inception.

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  4. But do you have great tits?

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  5. A sociopath usually exudes an air of pure faggotry.

    "Wherefore by their diverse faggotries ye shall know them."

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    1. Yea, I have set the sociopaths upon ye as a plague upon the earth, that if the aim of Sodom's sin ye do not defend, thou shalt be ravaged until thine blood and tears be spilt.

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  6. "One thing I am always a little surprised by is how horrified people are of the idea of sociopath mask-wearing and lying. Doesn't everybody? " yes, yes, and yes. I often wonder the same things. We all wear masks everyday.

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    1. Sounds like ME asks a rhetorical question. Thats why she doesnt know the answer yet.

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  7. May I just say that I don't lie to be charming? I lie to learn about people. For instance: how would this person react if he thought I was interested in him? How would he react if I held certain opinions that clashed with his? What if he thought I was gay? What would his reactions tell me about his character?

    It may sound like I'm romantically interested in this person, but I'm not - dating doesn't interest me. Dissecting his mind and personality is my crack. He exhibits narcissistic traits, but only in certain areas, and operates like a sociopath when it will keep someone he loves interested (which I found out from his girlfriend). His mind is my anti-drug, because manipulating his reactions gets me just as high and I don't have time for drugs anyway if I'm studying someone.

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  8. Hi, same person as above here. M.E., out of curiosity, how early in your life did you begin obsessing over people?

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  9. Sociopaths spot sociopaths fairly easily.

    How hard is it to spot charm, dominance, a play for sympathy or emotional detachment? I'm normally the one doing that, so if I see someone else doing it too, I take note.

    I admit, I have an easier time spotting sociopathic men than women, because when I'm attracted to the socipathic woman, I'm focused on getting what I want, so I'll miss the red flags.

    I suspect that normal people may not have the attention problem that psychopaths have - but they miss the predator because they get distracted with feelings and/or aren't observant (coldly detached) enough to spot the red flags.

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    1. Haven't you simply described the tools of a narcissist? If the sociopath is supposed to be universally likable, they should realize that dominance, playing on sympathy, and emotional attachment are not attractive to everyone. Your focus on women suggests a need for them to recognize your superiority and give themselves over to you.

      You claim to be a sociopath in a very matter-of-fact way, denying uncertainty and claiming ownership of the 'title'. Such confidence belies insecurity, because narcissists ultimately MUST believe in the persona they've crafted. Rather than confidence and integrity, their false self is all that stands between the cruel outside world and their weak, fragile personalities.

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    2. I merely mentioned the tells that sprang to mind when I considered what I noticed about the sociopaths I've run into. Typically there's one or more noticeable tells - the sympathy one being a big giveaway.

      I mentioned my own diagnosis in a matter of fact way because I've been told it a bunch by professionals, and it makes sense if you look at my family, my genes, early childhood experience and life trajectory. If I was insecure the label I probably wouldn't mention it.

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    3. Whether the person in question is a sociopath or not, what you have said is nonsensical. If a person is confident in saying they are a sociopath, they are a narcissist instead. If a person is not confident in saying they are a sociopath, they are unsure (and not a sociopath). This false logic does not allow sociopathy to exist. You are either confident (and therefore not a sociopath) or not confident (and therefore not a sociopath).

      You will need to restructure your personal criteria. Sociopaths are not schroedinger's cat. Instead, what would be more appropriate is to say that you feel they are not, instead of saying they just are not.

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  10. If people are horrified to learn that sociopaths lie and wear masks to get what they want then they don't know what a sociopath is. Most of the time people aren't horrified that you lied, they are horrified that you lied to THEM.

    MelissaR

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    1. An ironic selfishness in what you would think would be a selfless cause of defense. It is a universally human response.

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    2. I guess it's more the WHAT no the WHOM. I suppose a person would understand if you lied to protect them from a horrible truth (i.e. "I didn't tell you the house was broken into while you were on holiday, to not ruin your holiday"), as opposed to lying to cover up something that would would harm them, or put them in a compromising position (in their view or in the universal sense).

      No one's going to give a toss about the old "No, this skirt doesn't make you look fat" ('cause either you're fat or you're not, end of story).

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  11. It takes time to fine tune those skills of detecting truthfulness vs. lying. And experience. Once you've had experience with "a lot of lying", you become more attuned to those oh so subtle little clues.

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    1. It is not the lie itself. I just our it aside. The main thing was to detect why, what is underneath. Then I found out: Underneath is "zero sympathy" or even less. To be in touch with such a beeing for the first time it is horrifying. Now I know and can spot. I am glad I recognized "in time".

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  12. I have gone through hell with my mother who is a Mal Narc. I am more and more convinced that empathy challenged people should not have children. Children have no voice. Children depend on your understanding of them.


    They can't tell you what they need. You have to have to feel it out. For me, I had pain so terrible because my mother had no empathy for me.

    I have stories and stories. Some are funny because they are so off the wall but I suffered greatly because she could not feel for me.

    Don't do that to a child.

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  13. Yeah, that's majorly fucked up. And they don't understand what they've done wrong. And they go a step further and ask why we have a problem with it because to them it's nothing, no big deal. Ruining someone's life, even their own child, means about as much as killing a fly.

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  14. "Selfish Monsters from Hell" become "Selfish Monsters from Hell " with kids.

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  15. Our society dwells on the bad sides of sociopathy: sociopaths wreak lives, break hearts and lie pretty much out of habit without a care in the world.

    But more crucially, sociopaths know how to endear themselves and earn the trust of normal people. If they were not likeable, they would not be able to leave a trail of destruction. People would not really care about them lying.

    It is because they are so endearing (before the mask falls off) that the empaths find it so difficult when they realize the feeling is not, was never reciprocated. They feel hurt, used and abused, stupid, ridiculed. And to make matters worse, they can see that people around them are still enthralled by the sociopath. They feel jealous of the relationship (as hollow or superficial as it is) that the sociopath is able to maintain with other people, after they themselves have been 'discarded'. This can certainly bring suicidal thoughts.

    So it is easy to forget all the good sides that made it so easy for the empaths to like the sociopath in the first place. If the mask was off to start with, the feeling of deception that accompanies the revelation that the sociopath never followed the basic social contract (I like you as much as you like me) could potentially be avoided. Then perhaps empaths could find it in their heart to not despise the sociopath and appreciate him for who he truly is: the best personalized stand up actor they will ever meet. I have heard descriptions ranging from human hand grenade to private poet.

    Enjoy the sociopath in your life as you would enjoy a movie, a song, a video game, a poem or any other form of art.  They provide a departure, transient in most cases, from real/regular life.

    OldAndWise

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    1. You mean "enjoy him superficially". I would specify: Enjoy superficially and be aware of his/her personality disorder. Stay away if its unpleasant.
      Form of art?? Keep rational.

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    2. Old and wise: what you described sounds like a drug, nice and harmful. Or like a love story, which starts magnificant and turns horrifying. There is nothing to halo, it is a personality disorder, thats all. What you feel is your drug.

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    3. Almost two years after this post, and 6 years after i met the sociopath in my life - my socio friend as i call him - there is still nothing horrifying.

      Just an interesting relationship with its ups and downs. I still like him and find him and his antics endearing. We still tell each others difficult truths. Get annoyed. Get mad. Laugh. And help each other.

      Nothing scary there...

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  16. I've lied to people about all sorts of things since I can remember. When I was little I remember lying to people I wanted to be friends with in an attempt to seduce them to play with me because otherwise no one wanted to be with "that creepy kid." Now I cannot talk to someone without identifying what I think are lies, and often I've later investigated what I thought was a lie and discovered, much of the time, that I was right. Here are my suggestions to you liars out there:
    1. Practice with your memory. You must remember every lie you tell to everyone. It's best to modify a truth rather than fabricate outright, unless you are certain you will never encounter that person again.
    2. Lie about something that is highly probably, unlikely to be an exaggeration, and reasonable for a person in your social class. If you're smart and others see you as smart you can lie about a lot more, but otherwise, try to keep your lie realistic. Almost everyone uses lies to exaggerate and embellish how wonderful they are. This is using a lie backward. A lie should support a claim, not be the claim itself.
    3. Read a lot, read about everything, you can never know enough, and all that knowledge becomes indispensable to the proficient liar.

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  17. Well at least I'm being honest, about being a fucking liar

    http://youtu.be/XmYeSFrY3as

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  18. Lying is only wrong if you feel guilty about it.

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    1. You mean if you get caught.

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  19. If you're gonna feel guilty don't lie.
    If you're gonna lie don't feel guilty.

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  20. So I am stuck between a rock and a hard place. My bf broke up with me 4 months ago after having been together for 6 years. The reason behind it was because I felt like he was withdrawing and loosing interest in the relationship since he wasn’t texting me as much and I was inviting myself over to see him 3x as much as he was asking for me to come over which wasnt normal (among various other signs). Anyway I got concerned and while I should have asked him about it, instead I decided to look through his phone and found him talking to other girls who were openly interested in him and him not mentioning he had a gf (later after talking to him found out nothing happened, he was just talking to them). Anyway I ended up telling him what I did and what I found and how sorry I was for doing it but I just wanted to know what was going on. Unfortunately he couldnt deal with what I did and while he said he still loves me dating me isnt something he can do anymore for fear of me snooping again. After broke up my heart was broken. I was desperate. I cry whole time, until I found this website http://magical-rituals.com I used that. I was amazed when love spell start working. He start calling me, apologized and finally back to me. I never believed in that things, but now I do.

    ReplyDelete

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