Detecting Deception

Detecting Deception

Can one ever accurately spot a liar?

In my quest to better understand the science of behavioral analysis I have come across several books where authors claim to be capable of spelling out the behavioral cues that characterize the art of deception. Initially, I was mesmerized by the techniques highlighted in such texts, however, soon after I came to realize that the behavioral signals these authors often emphasized were nothing but ambiguous indicators of nervousness. A seasoned liar is most likely already aware of the suggestive assumptions that imply that those attempting to deceive appear to be uncomfortable, frequently shift their gaze and twitch in high frequencies. Therefore, experienced deceivers tend to behave in ways that inhibit demonstrations of anxiety and tension, when exposed to pressure. This then indicates that these authors’ efforts to synthesize an accurate guideline for uncovering deception is in reality unavailing, as good liars know what people believe to be signs of lying and they will attempt to mask such signs for as long as consciously possible. One may then ask, if manifestations of nervousness and anxiety are not the right indicators of lying, what exactly is? Well, this is a question that professionals in the Criminal Psychology field have been itching to respond, and lately I, too, have been wondering what the most accurate answer for this question may be.

This particular matter, of establishing whether or not one is lying, is raised to a level of essential importance when it involves the interviewing process of criminal suspects. It is crucial for police officers, and officials carrying out interrogations, to be effectively equipped with the skills needed to identify a liar. However, current models of exposing deception are at times based on faulty methods of behavioral analysis- thus- making it virtually impossible for such professionals to precisely claim that a certain suspect is indeed lying. Studies demonstrate that police officers who have been trained to detect deception, using the interpretation of behavioral manifestations of anxiety and nervousness, proficiently identify lies only fifty-five per cent of the time. With such a mediocre level of accuracy one might as well rely on random chances (which would allow one to be correct 50% of the time under such circumstances).

A vital issue raised by the practice of deception identification through behavioral analysis is the concern that the behaviors of nervous, innocent suspects- during interviews/interrogations- may be perceived, by officers, as indicators of deception. When such a mistaken detection occurs the continuation of the interviewing process may further pressure the suspect into more deteriorating levels of distress, leading them to consequently supply professionals with a coerced confession. In order to prevent such matters from occurring it’s essential that new, more accurate techniques for lie detection are developed and employed.

When speaking of lie detection mechanisms you may start thinking about the use and the validity of the results provided by computerized polygraphs, or lie detectors, modernized in the late 80s and early 90s. Polygraphs seemingly represent the ideal solution to the defective process of lie detection, yet, the data collected by these devices simply highlight the physiological components that characterize anxiety and nervousness – including: heightened heart rate, shortened breathing intervals and increased blood pressure. This can pose a problem when the machine is used on innocent suspects who are just simply terrified at the time of the interview. When an innocent individual is exposed to a setting where they are plugged up to a lie detecting device, and frequently monitored by police officials it is not unlikely for them to begin showing the physiological signs that the machine, and experts, may interpret as lying behavior. This then makes it difficult for me to fully believe that this sort of technology supplies us the level of accuracy currently needed to amend modern techniques of uncovering lies.

A particularly interesting approach to ameliorating our understanding of lie detection has been the application of linguistic analysis of responses provided by suspects during an interview/interrogation. I find this to be perhaps one of the most promising mechanisms employed to identify deception. The linguistic examination of one’s speech patterns have been shown to highlight specific indicators of deceptive behavior. It appears to be the case that while lying, individuals tend to focus on the expression of negative emotions through the usage of diction that reflects anxiety. Liars have also been shown to use fewer terms that express exclusion, such as but and without. Their lexical constructs, while lying, also are reported to demonstrate less diversity and inadequate intervals. Although a promising approach, the use of linguistic analyses is not error free, thus prompting critics to assert that it may not be the most effective technique to detect deception. However, personally, I have high hopes for the advances that this area of study may bring us in the near future.

Unfortunately, we have yet to develop a method of lie detection that possesses a splendidly high level of accuracy. Therefore, it is essentially improbable for one to proficiently recognize lying behaviors. So, the next time you find yourself thinking that you are pretty good at spotting a liar, you should probably remind yourself that you’re just as correct as the chances allow you to be.

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I Am A College Student, And I Think Free Tuition Is Unfair To Everyone Who's Already Paid For It

Stop expecting others to pay for you.


I attend Fordham University, a private university in the Bronx.

I commute to school because I can't afford to take out more loans than I already do.

Granted, I've received scholarships because of my grades, but they don't cover my whole tuition. I am nineteen years old and I have already amassed the debt of a 40-year-old. I work part-time and the money I make covers the bills I have to pay. I come from a middle-class family, but my dad can't afford to pay off my college loans.

I'm not complaining because I want my dad to pay my loans off for me; rather I am complaining because while my dad can't pay my loans off (which, believe me, he wants too), he's about to start paying off someone else's.

During the election, Bernie frequently advocated for free college.

Now, if he knew enough about economics he would know it simply isn't feasible. Luckily for him, he is seeing his plan enacted by Cuomo in NY. Cuomo has just announced that in NY, state public college will be free.

Before we go any further, it's important to understand what 'free' means.

Nothing is free; every single government program is paid for by the taxpayers. If you don't make enough to have to pay taxes, then something like this doesn't bother you. If you live off welfare and don't pay taxes, then something like this doesn't bother you. When someone offers someone something free, it's easy to take it, like it, and advocate for it, simply because you are not the one paying for it.

Cuomo's free college plan will cost $163,000,000 in the first year (Did that take your breath away too?). Now, in order to pay for this, NY state will increase their spending on higher education to cover these costs. Putting two and two together, if the state decides to raise their budget, they need money. If they need money they look to the taxpayers. The taxpayers are now forced to foot the bill for this program.

I think education is extremely important and useful.

However, my feelings on the importance of education does not mean that I think it should be free. Is college expensive? Yes -- but more so for private universities. Public universities like SUNY Cortland cost around $6,470 per year for in-state residents. That is still significantly less than one of my loans for one semester.

I've been told that maybe I shouldn't have picked a private university, but like I said, I believe education is important. I want to take advantage of the education this country offers, and so I am going to choose the best university I could, which is how I ended up at Fordham. I am not knocking public universities, they are fine institutions, they are just not for me.

My problems with this new legislation lie in the following: Nowhere are there any provisions that force the student receiving aid to have a part-time job.

I work part-time, my sister works part-time, and plenty of my friends work part-time. Working and going to school is stressful, but I do it because I need money. I need money to pay my loans off and buy my textbooks, among other things. The reason I need money is because my parents can't afford to pay off my loans and textbooks as well as both of my sisters'. There is absolutely no reason why every student who will be receiving aid is not forced to have a part-time job, whether it be working in the school library or waitressing.

We are setting up these young adults up for failure, allowing them to think someone else will always be there to foot their bills. It's ridiculous. What bothers me the most, though, is that my dad has to pay for this. Not only my dad, but plenty of senior citizens who don't even have kids, among everyone else.

The cost of living is only going up, yet paychecks rarely do the same. Further taxation is not a solution. The point of free college is to help young adults join the workforce and better our economy; however, people my parents' age are also needed to help better our economy. How are they supposed to do so when they can't spend their money because they are too busy paying taxes?

Free college is not free, the same way free healthcare isn't free.

There is only so much more the taxpayers can take. So to all the students about to get free college: get a part-time job, take personal responsibility, and take out a loan — just like the rest of us do. The world isn't going to coddle you much longer, so start acting like an adult.

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Writing Saved My Sanity

Write it all down when you can't talk to anyone.


I love writing.

I have since elementary school, and I've dreamed of becoming a published author. I started off writing stupid plays in elementary school, then it grew it almost writing a full-blown novel in middle school. I have no idea where that thing went to. It was all notebook paper and bad writing. In high school, my writing was kinda pushed to the side so I could focus on school. When I entered college, I started writing small poems about my now ex-boyfriend.

I was scared to express myself to him sometimes, the intensity of my feelings for him scared me. So instead of telling him, I wrote them down. When I tried to share them with him, he hated it. He thought writing down feelings was weird and creepy. So I didn't share anything else with him. When we finally broke up for good, everything just poured out of me. What I couldn't express verbally, I wrote or typed out.

I always have ideas flowing through my head. They never cease and I wouldn't want them to. Writing gives me an escape, from stress, work, school, or fights. It gives me a place to vent and to be open with everything. This is a reason I love writing for Odyssey, not only has this place brought me amazing friends but revived my love for writing. I'm never without my notebook anymore, I'd get distracted in class by an idea and have to write I think then and there.

I love sharing my more personal writing with close friends, especially my poems as of late. I found that I have a voice for young women who find themselves in a toxic relationship much like mine was. I want to speak out and show them that you can grow from the bullshit. It may take some time, but you will be better.

Writing saved my sanity. It allows me to express myself without having to use my actual voice. Anyone who knows me, knows I hate public speaking. I tend to psych myself out leading up to it. My current projects include writing for Odyssey every week, I'm in the process of trying to continue my short stories, and I'm excited to announce that I'm currently working on my very first poetry book!

Writing has given me so much, and I'm so looking forward to making a career out of something I love so much.

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