Pinocchio Effect helps you find a liar

How do you catch a person who is lying to you? Is it possible to know when someone is saying truth and when not? Psychologists have tried to find ways to get hold of a person who is deceitful. But can you get into the heart of the other person? We don’t know for sure. But for any action there are strong and visible reactions. Lies are harmful, can affect someone’s life. Cheaters and fraudsters are trained to be dishonest, very expertly. They can even establish that the lie is a truth by using various tactics. Most of the people are innocent, so they believe the other person’s story, easily.

There is a machine called lie detector which can help you finding out if someone is lying. However, it is not possible to ask everyone to undergo a lie detector test, so it is useful if we can find out, with our own naked eyes, whether a person is saying the truth. When a person is angry there are evident signs on his face. If a person is tired, we can see it from his body language. Psychologists have worked on such signals and have found out a way to detect liars.

Saying what is in our mind and what we believe to be true doesn’t take much effort. It comes out smoothly. Unless we want to cover up some fact or change the factual statement, our gestures would be seamless. Only when one has to convince the other person what he himself knows is not true, he needs to make an extra strong attempt. Because misrepresenting facts is difficult, it creates a fear in the speaker’s mind.

As per Science Daily, when a person lies, they experience a “Pinocchio effect,” which is an increase in the temperature around the nose and in the orbital muscle in the inner corner of the eye. In addition, when we perform a considerable mental effort our face temperature drops, and when we have an anxiety attack our face temperature rises. These are some of the conclusions drawn in a pioneering study conducted at the University of Granada Department of Experimental Psychology.

Apart from the temperature change and other signs on the person’s face, it is also noted that the person who is lying will make extra efforts to establish the lie as a truth. He would repeat the same thing again and again. He might also say: Why would I lie to you? His emphasis on repeating: I am telling the truth, you can ask him or her, etc are useful signals to make him a suspect. The Pinocchio effect is very useful way of observing people, through the changes in their body language and extra efforts they are making to convince the listener.

A sense of belongingness

This week I read two news in a Kenyan newspaper. Both of them were related to the Kenyan athletes performing in the Commonwealth Games 2022 and winning medals. One of them won the silver medal while the other one got a bronze one. What was striking was that invariably they gave credit for their success to their parents, community and country.

One of them mentioned that she had been trying to enter into Kenya’s International Athletes team for long. It was with the blessing of her late mother and the local Pastor that she could make it. She also said about a prayer group that she had formed in her community, where people were fasting on different days for her success. She said it also contributed to her winning the silver medal.

I was happily surprised to see the humbleness and sense of belongingness to the community prevailing among the athletes in Kenya. They didn’t have an individualistic approach to their success, no sole ownership, but a sense to give credit to those around them in the community. It was also striking that both the athletes who mentioned their Mother and Father respectively had lost them sometime back. Thus mentioning the dead parent and giving all credit to them for their success in athletics is a remarkable value system that we are noticing here.

How different it is from the society where we see that sportspersons live as if they are superhuman and have come with a certain kind of superpower. Many of them also behave in a way which is certainly not respectful in society. But here is the stark contrast coming from Kenya where politeness, humility and a sense of belongingness prevail over the individualistic ego and pride. It has its own benefits that one never feels lonely in the ivory tower of fame and wealth. They do not have to go to a psychiatrist for addressing issues of depression.

It is very clear that the more we remain as a part of society, the more we find meaning and satisfaction in life. Our existence is interdependent on each other, we are never alone, and so we do not become lonely. A sense of belongingness gives humility and contentedness to an individual without which the success feels temporary and hollow. It is the reason that even those people who have achieved extraordinary feats get into depression and disappointment at a time. They yearn for continuous prestige and publicity. They cannot live a life without the limelight, as it is the only way for them to connect to people, and be among them. It is because of a lack of real connection with society and people. They need everyone to follow them, not walk with them. Rather than being a part of the society, they feel the society is for them, because of them. A sense of superiority takes away their simplicity and humility.

The examples of Kenyan athletes were full of inspiration, not only because of what they have achieved on the ground but also because of how they accept this success. For them, it is not only they who were responsible for medals. It was rather family and community had been a community who they felt were the force behind their achievement.