Economic Hardship Creates Cynicism on Wall Street

Do you tell the truth, especially when money is involved?  Wall Street firms are not taking any chances.

According to a Consumer Affairs report and The Wall Street Journal, there is a growing need for the employment of professional lie detectors in the business world.  In the articles entitled “Wary Investors Turn to Lie Detectors” and “Wary Investors Turn to Lie Pros”, the process of probing Wall Street businessmen before employment is discussed.

These articles purport that certain signs of deception, which can be useful in a myriad of situations not just on Wall Street, are essential in trying do delineate truth from untruth.  They are:  irregular breathing, a sign of agitation or nervousness, microexpressions, split second facial expressions of emotion, and motionlessness often associated with extreme focus or concentration.

It is important to note that no one behavior is a definitive sign of deception but an overall assessment of an individual and situation is necessary to detect untruths.

Professional lie detectors say people are uncomfortable with telling lies and will express that awkwardness with facial microexpressions or concealing motions.   These articles go on to state that deceptive tells are not always universal but 7 facial expressions are: fear, joy, anger, contempt, disgust, surprise and sadness.  This is why many professional lie detectors, as well as polygraph instructors, establish a baseline for each individual before drawing any conclusions.

With the growing popularity of Lie to Me, despite its impending cancelation from Fox, deception detectors are becoming highly sought after.

A couple of such experts mentioned by the Wall Street Journal are renowned human lie detector, J. J. Newberry and Mark Frank a deception detection consultant and teacher at the University of Buffalo.  Frank stated that in recent months he has turned down numerous requests from Wall Street firms to analyze potential employees.

What do you think?  Is this human lie detector screening for Wall Street firms a long awaited and necessary implementation or is it a waste of a firm’s money?

2 responses to “Economic Hardship Creates Cynicism on Wall Street”

  1. Russ Conte says:

    Very interesting post. I feel – sadly – that it will turn out to be a waste of money. Wall Street’s problem is not dishonesty, but a lack of ethics. For example, virtually all of the activity that Wall Street did that caused the economic collapse was legal. Congress relaxed certain laws allowing lending to people who previously could not afford homes. Companies packaged mortgages and sold them. All of this was legal. Doing this was not a lie, nor was it illegal. But it was extremely unethical.

    It’s entirely possible to be honest and unethical, and that’s what got us into this mess in the first place. We’re much better off with people who are honest and ethical.

    I interview and make hiring decisions for a living. A six word summary of my secret would be borrowed from the Josephson Institute – Hire for Character, Train for Skills. Companies that consistently do that come out winners, and don’t need to even consider human lie detectors.

    Russ Conte

  2. Keith D. says:

    I agree with Russ. Another problem that’s not mentioned is that since Wall Street is primarily centered around money, it’s going to attract those who seek money. The problem is, how will those who were duped in the first place by the unethical and corrupt and those without any integrity ever be able to distinguish the real deception experts from all the charlatans that are crawling out of the woodwork today? The answer is, most of them won’t, and we’ll simply wind up with more of the same, except with yet another money sink attached to it.

    The problem isn’t with the system, the problem is the people that the system is made up of, and by and large we’ve already been fooled into thinking that “fixing the system” is the answer by the very people who designed that system and continually exploit it. Until corruption itself is rooted out, it doesn’t matter what the system is or what safeguards are put in place because the people are the system regardless of what the system is, and the people are the problem. If we don’t address that, there’s nothing in the world anyone can do to fix it.

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