Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Players and Liars

Eric Haseltine describes what makes a good liar or a good spy in this article on the science of lie detection :

Who makes a good spy or a good liar?

I don’t think there’s any one answer to that. Being a good actor, being a good poker player. Being a good con man. Con men are people who are sociopathic, who do not feel remorse, and who are very attuned, strangely, to other people and can read them very well. If I know what you really want to hear and what is in your heart of hearts, your fondest desire, because I’m good at reading you and I’m street-smart about assessing you, then I can feed you what you want to hear. A good con man does that. A good magician does that. You also have to have a good memory.

That description fits a lot of players I have encountered in my life. Most of them are more than averagely smart and engaging conversationalists. When pressed for specific information about themselves or asked questions about their past, they will offer a slew of data but even the most diligent dredging of it will not yield any useful answers. However, the sheer volume of material will give you the warm and fuzzy about the man - a lot like a Big Mac or a Big Gulp will offer comfort but no nourishment when you are very hungry.

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