Anyone who has watched the show “Lie to Me” a few times has probably been tempted to “catch” someone in a lie if they’re fidgeting or shaking their head too much (classic liar body language) while they’re saying something like, “Your flight to Newark will be taking off in half an hour,” for example.There have been rumours of some financial firms using these deception experts before, like at SAC Capital, which has apparently trained its employees in deception detection. But apparently, the trend is spreading.
Mark Frank, a deception detection consultant who teaches at the University of Buffalo, told the Wall Street Journal that he practically has to beat away Wall Street firms that are begging him to analyse people for them. The idea is that Frank could tell the firms when they’re dealing with a liar, and the Wall Street firm could avoid future work with them.
Mark Frank: In recent months, [I have] repeatedly turned down requests to analyse subjects for Wall Street firms.
Thankfully, he’s turning them down. But watch out, it sounds like this is a trend, in which case, the Wall Street interview process might get much harder.*
In theory, lie detection is a good idea; it’s important to work with people you can trust. But Wall Street is probably the worst place for it.
The experts say that deception detection is especially hard on Wall Street because the people who work on it tend to be narcissistic.
Elizabeth Prial, a psychologist and former Federal Bureau of Investigation agent, told the Wall Street Journal that people on Wall Street are better liars and they’re usually more self-aware, and therefore better skilled at concealing lies.
Elizabeth Prial: Many honest investment professionals have behaviours that point to narcissism, a trait that often goes hand-in-hand with deception.
The upside of bringing deception detection to Wall Street is that deception experts are testing fund managers, hoping to catch the next Madoff before he defrauds investors. Read the Wall Street Journal article for more on that. (Click here >)
But as anyone who watched the show knows, a psychopath is the hardest liar to catch; he believes his lies, so he doesn’t show the typical “tells.”
*According to Prial, some of the “tells” deception experts look for are: facial twitches, changes in breathing tempo, and shifts in language patterns.
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