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How to spot a liar

October 14, 2011

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6 comments

  1. It’s funny how I find this applicable to second life identities, because I was thinking about it recently. Some argue that who we are online, is really who we are, but I’m feeling that if that person, whoever it may be, doesn’t manifest the way they are online, in reality [in some context], then that really isn’t who they are.

    I don’t know, it’s interesting.


    • We have to define carefully what “who we are” means to make any concrete statements or hypotheses. Certainly, some people will behave somewhat differently online than offline, but that does not change their personality. People might be a little more disinhibited online for instance, among other things. Then, once we define what we want to measure, we can assess how much people deviate from their offline behavior online. In an extreme case, someone would behave in almost an opposite way online compared to offline. After we establish how much the behavior differs online and offfline, the next question is what characteristics are associated with that.

      Now, another question is the nature of the deviation itself. For example, some people might be a little more chatty online than offline, and such a manifestation may be unconscious to some extent, but others deliberately misrepresent themselves online. ( MMORPG: Many Man Online Role Playing Girls :P ) In some extreme cases, such a misrepresentation leads to grave consequences. That’s why we should be very careful about our interactions online because, at the end of the day, you never really know who the person on the one side of the screen is. When I see people face to face, a few minutes of talking to a person and observing her/his behavior is enough for me to see quite a bit. If all you see is text, it is much more difficult to make a decent assessment.


      • I agree, and personality based on context is still valid when someone is being honest and aware. When someone realizes they’re playing up the persona, is that real? It’s even worse when someone runs with it for whatever reason/motive. And motives are an interesting thing as well, a striking quote from this talk goes, “lying is an attempt to bridge that gap, to connect our wishes and our fantasies about who we wish we were, how we wish we could be, with what we’re really like.” It’s something dangerous to begin with and even more so given the ease of bridging that gap through a virtual medium.

        That’s why we should be very careful about our interactions online because, at the end of the day, you never really know who the person on the one side of the screen is. When I see people face to face, a few minutes of talking to a person and observing her/his behavior is enough for me to see quite a bit. If all you see is text, it is much more difficult to make a decent assessment.

        It’s true, though I’m not so worried for myself. As much as we scrutinize the “reality” of people in-person, we must go even further online, imo. Discrepancies trigger red flags. But personally, I’ve gradually become more reflective in the things I do or say online. That’s a fairly recent development, but it helps looking back over relationships I’ve formed and seeing “who I was” when interfacing. I don’t like the idea that I could misrepresent myself so easily online, it’s too dangerous.


        • “lying is an attempt to bridge that gap, to connect our wishes and our fantasies about who we wish we were, how we wish we could be, with what we’re really like.” It’s something dangerous to begin with and even more so given the ease of bridging that gap through a virtual medium.

          And the worst type of lying is to yourself…

          But personally, I’ve gradually become more reflective in the things I do or say online.

          Unlike a regular diary, online records these days may offer some interesting retrospective and introspective insights because not only your own thoughts are preserved as they were at the time, but how you interacted with others and what you did.


  2. wonderful video- the funny thing is that I was telling my bf the other day that I’m not ever gonna teach my pupils or my children that it’s ALWAYS bad to lie. it has been a survival strategy for me… there are simply some people who don’t want and don’t need to know the truth- you are safer that way


    • Yes, it is better this way.



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