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How does the show "Lie to Me" link with the deception concept within communciaton...

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chasey0 | (Level 2) Honors

Posted April 28, 2012 at 3:23 AM via web

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How does the show "Lie to Me" link with the deception concept within communciaton studies? Does it hold true to the concept? 

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Michelle Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

Posted April 29, 2012 at 6:07 PM (Answer #1)

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The TV show "Lie to Me", as the show's website itself explains, is based on the real life stories of a true-life criminal profiler; an expert at noting the physiological changes that manifest in human expression, gaze, facial gestures, and emotions, when people try to lie, or cause deceit.

With this information, we can assert that it, indeed, links with the Interpersonal Deception Theory proposed by Buller and Burgoon (1996). This theory proposes that the primitive tendencies of our bodies to react in the face of danger can be associated with the fear some people have to be "found out" when they know that they have done something wrong. Therefore, when people are confronted with information that causes them anxiety, fear, or paranoia of some sort, a number of bodily reactions, some being quite subtle, can certainly take place and be predicted. 

In the Interpersonal Deception Theory, like in the show "Lie to Me", the basic tenet is that the face, the body, the eyes, the gesture, and the expression will be the same in everybody who is telling a lie. This is why, in the show, every time one of such facial reactions occurs, the director cleverly takes a screen shot of that facial expression and compares it to similar facial expressions that have been caught by the real-life media in the faces of political candidates, or controversial figures. 

One of the most poignant episodes of "Lie to Me" features a man who is withholding information about an affair, and makes a specific facial gesture showing triumph for thinking that there is no proof against him, and that he has gotten away with it. Seconds later, the show demonstrates how this exact same expression can be clearly seen in a picture of a very controversial man in American politics, while he showed up on TV and, looking straight at the camera, told the American people that he had never had an affair with his intern, Monica Lewinski. This expression was in the face of Bill Clinton, who also lied when he professed those word, and who was well-aware of the fact that nothing was going to come out of that incident. 

Therefore, the show does attend to the IDT in the aspect of human expression, and our reactions in times of danger, intimidation, and when we tell lies. 

 

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