Lie to Me Season 2 Episode 7 “Black Friday” Comments
In addition to how I abhor the bastardization of the science, I think I figured out another reason why this show has been viscerally difficult for me.
Has anyone ever noticed how the Lightman Group is not really a group of scientists who aid law enforcement, but is a private group of individuals who take the law into their own hands and conduct their own investigations, detain individuals and interview and interrogate them, and in some ways act directly in opposition to law enforcement?
To me, this violates many of the ethics and common sense of being a scientist and even a concerned citizen in this country.
In many other shows that feature individuals with special skills, those individuals work together with law enforcement, but never (or not as much as) the vigilante Lightman Group. I couldn’t even begin to think of going out to conduct my own investigation, bring someone back to my office to interrogate them, and to accuse them of criminal activities.
So not only is the science minimized and spun for the purpose of drama; the whole nature of the Lightman Group is totally unrealistic.
Speaking of the science, do you notice that much of the science that is quoted – most notably the stuff about how people answer questions (“classic evasion,” “buying time,” “distancing,” etc.) have nothing to do with the science of nonverbal behavior?
Indeed, there is an entire field of scientific endeavor, developed originally in Europe, around what is known as the “Undeutsch hypothesis,” which states that descriptions of real experiences are qualitatively and quantitatively different from invented ones.
Research and application based on this hypothesis has led in recent years to what is known as statement analysis, a technique that attempts to assess the credibility (i.e., the truthfulness or deception) in verbal statements. Techniques based on statement analysis produce a number of different criteria by which verbal statements can be analyzed for deception. Statement analysis is a useful and worthwhile technique not only to analyze statements for deception, but also to understand the mental state and memory retrievability of individual.
These criteria and the general enterprise of statement analysis play a prominent role in the show, along with the nonverbal behavior. Indeed, one of the ethical principles of all scientists includes not claiming credit when it is not due, and given that my expertise lies in nonverbal behavior and facial expressions of emotion, credit should be granted where credit is due.
We scientists whose work touches on this show should openly give such credit to statement analysis and those scientists who brought that work to where it is today.