Ekman on Lying

The work of Dr. Paul Ekman, a behavioral psychologist who specializes in lying, has influenced playwright Samuel Baum’s work. Here are some quotes from Ekman’s book Telling Lies: Clues to Deceit in the Marketplace, Politics, and Marriage:

“Lying is such a central characteristic of life that better understanding of it is relevant to almost all human affairs.”

“Most often lies fail because some sign of an emotion being concealed leaks. The stronger the emotions involved in the lie, and the greater the number of different emotions, the more likely it is that the lie will be betrayed by some form of behavioral leakage.”

“Sometimes one is better off misled. The host may be better off thinking the guest enjoyed himself…There is, of course, a cost for being misled even in these benevolent instances.”

“No important relationship survives if trust is totally lost.”

“We can lie or be truthful, spot deceit or miss it, be misled or know the truth. We have a choice; that is our nature.”