I saw a meme on Instagram this morning that I simply had to call BS on it.
Normally I can restrain myself to just keep scrolling past without the need to comment on nonsense. Today was different because it was about deception and it had thousands of comments agreeing with it.
I know better than to get into a tete-a-tete with strangers on the internet. But I’d be remiss if I didn’t help dispel this myth. I had, and have, no intention of getting into a pissing match.
Here is the offending image. The red overlay is my doing to prevent this untruth from spreading.
Their statement of The Longer the Explanation, The Bigger the Lie is not true, not accurate and not responsible posting to their 43,000 followers. Yet over 2,500 people “Liked” it and many commented how that was so true.
They commented on their own post “This is actually true. If it’s the truth, you’ll get straight to the point.”
The irony of this is that “actually” is a flag for deception if it is not comparing two things. For example, if asked “Did you go to the movie last night?” and the response is, “Actually, we decided to stay home to watch Netflix.” The “actually” here is comparing going out to staying in. This is the proper use of actually and there is no deception indicated here.
However, if there is not anything stated to compare it to, then it is an indication the responder is thinking about something else. At Casey Anthony’s trial, she testified about some nanny having her daughter. She said, “I’ve tried to contact her. I actually received a phone call today. Now from a number that is no longer in service. I did get to speak to my daughter for about a moment, about a minute.”
She was comparing getting the phone call to something else – to not getting a call. No one suggested she may not have gotten a call, so there was no need to compare it. Except inside her head, she was comparing talking to her daughter which is a lie, with the truth that she did not talk to her daughter.
If you didn’t follow the Casey Anthony story, ask the Googles. It’s a great case study on deception.
Why the Instagram Statement is Not True:
For starters, there is no one indicator of lying. You can’t cherry pick one or two behaviors or words to decide someone is lying. There are a number of factors that must be considered in context.
It greatly depends on baseline. Is the person who is speaking always very long-winded and typically gives many details? Are the intro, body and conclusion of the explanation at the proper intervals? Is the person using pronouns or articles? Are there any deception markers being used?
These are just a very few factors to be considered when deeming someone to be telling a lie. Length of explanation is not an indication of deception. I can tell you what I did last night and I can go into much detail and it will be 100% true.
After I commented that their image was not necessarily true, it struck a nerve because a very lengthy response came back attempting to justify it. One of the sentences included, “You must know that all these quotes you see online are not 100% accurate.” Indeed, I do. Indeed, I do.
Case in Point.
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As Managing Director of Concealed Statements I work with men and women who want to increase their deception awareness to avoid wasting time or money and avoid making poor decisions based on inaccurate information.