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Reading Between the Lies

I would like to start off by wishing each and every one of you season’s greetings for this festive time of the year. As we are now getting nearer in our run up towards the holiday season, for me as with most entertainers it is one of the busiest times of the year and it seems to be getting busier each year! It is also the time when many companies like to thank their employees for all the hard work they have put in during the year by having their annual award dinners. Because it has been so hectic, unfortunately, this blog has got somewhat delayed as I would have liked to have posted it a little earlier.

Since my last blog which touched on the subject of superheroes, I have received a number of emails regarding the skills that I use in my show when I’m entertaining close-up during drinks receptions and around tables. One of the main abilities I have developed is that of reading body language and that of micro-expressions. It is probably the nearest thing to actually being able to read a person’s mind. I’m sure at some time or other everyone has had the wish to be able to know what another person is thinking before they even get to hear them speak and when a person does talk it is not always known if they are telling the complete truth. Well, in actual fact, it is not as impossible as some might think, but it is necessary to learn some special techniques and tricks that are used in forensic psychology.

One problem I have to contend with as a psychological illusionist is that I don’t have the chance of interrogating anyone like a detective possibly would, but, in saying this I still have to be able to read a subject especially if I’m doing a demonstration of lie detection. So what I have to do is to rely on being able to read the non-verbal micro-expressions that are being given off by those that are assisting me cannot hide.

Of the many clues I watch out for, here are some of them:-

•    One of the main ways a subject will betray themselves is by avoiding eye contact. This can be seen as a very strong indication and another way for a person to hide the truth will have them turning their head or even their entire body away from the person questioning them. As is often the case when someone may fold their arms in front of their body in a defensive manner, but, it must be said this is not always the case. It might be that the subject is just feeling cold.

•    A subject will often have a stiff physical appearance with few hand or arm movements. They will unconsciously try to make their body occupy less space as if they are trying to hide themselves away.

•    Touching one’s face, nos,e, behind the ears, throat and mouth also clearly indicates deception. A person’s mouth will go dry and they find it difficult to swallow. Also the saying ‘feeling hot under the collar’, where a person has to loosen their collar away from their neck originates from people trying to hide the truth. 

•    As mentioned, I have also trained myself to watch out for and recognise involuntary facial expressions that appear and disappear within a fraction of a second, which no one can hide from as they are in our genetic makeup. These are called micro-expressions and are generally grouped into our seven universal emotions that of anger, contempt, disgust, fear, happiness, sadness and surprise.

One way to practice this is to switch the sound off of the television and watch people whilst they are being interviewed see what you can pick up on from their facial expressions.

Until my next blog in the new year please enjoy the festive season.

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