“Everyone likes to bust a liar”

If you’re based in the US and you’re interested in deception you can’t have missed the launch of the new TV drama series “Lie to Me” based on the research of Paul Ekman.

Professor Ekman has a long and distinguished record of research on emotions and on lying. In the last few years he has focused on applying his work to practical problems of law enforcement and national security, including developing training packages for professionals who want to become better lie detectors. Ekman’s well-known in the psychological and, increasingly, security/law enforcement community, but the TV drama looks set to make him famous. This may be a good thing for better public understanding of the myths and realities of deception research: Ekman writes a commentary on each episode, explaining the science behind the drama.

There’s a lot of coverage and comment across the web, including a profile of Ekman in the New York Times (20 Jan), commentary and links on the blogs Neuronarrative and Eyes for Lies, and a heap of news articles reviewing and commenting on the series (such as this one from the Calgary Herald).

Malcolm Gladwell’s 2002 New Yorker article, which inspired the TV producer Brian Grazer to develop the idea behind the series, can be read here.

As the NYT profile concludes:

… the combination of crime-solving and insight into how to recognize liars may prove to have potent appeal, Mr. Grazer said. “Everyone likes to bust a liar,” he said.

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