Research Unmasks Conference Call Liars!

Until recently, it was difficult to tell if someone was lying on a conference call. In person, we could always fall back on the classic “tells”: their nose grew, their pants were on fire, or—in the case of politicians—their lips were moving.

Now researchers have provided us with new weapons in the fight for Truth and Justice. According to a recent article in The Economist, there are some clues that the savvy listener can pick up from bosses on conference calls:

  1. References to general knowledge (“as you know…”)
  2. Fewer “non-extreme positive emotion words”; e.g., instead of describing something as “good”, they call it “fantastic”.
  3. Avoiding  the word “I”, opting instead for the third person.
  4. Fewer “hesitation words”, such as “um” and “er”, suggesting that they may have been coached in their deception.
  5. More frequent use of swear words.

So, the next time you are on a conference call and someone says, “As you know, this idea is fantastically fabulous, and I am personally excited to be leading this team. Anyone who disagrees is a stupid !@%$#%@!”

Once again, a better life through Science!

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