Friday, 28 March 2008

How To Sniff Out Gullibility

How do you know if you are on the receiving end of somebody who is trying to dupe you? How do we get to the truth of the matter? Well as social animals most of us have a 'nose' for it, which regrettably becomes dulled because of three key factors:

i) cultural norms which lead us to think that asking direct questions are impolite

ii) undue deference to people who hold 'labels' of authority

iii) lazy thinking which causes us to accept things as 'givens'

So...imagine a situation you are familiar with, it might be a friend excusing themselves from a social event, someone close who doesn't fill in the details of a story, or perhaps someone who uses words and language that misdirect you.

A common tactic will be the use of Euphemism in order to avoid referring directly to the subject under discussion. With its close cousin Jargon I'm sure we all know of instances where the utterances simply obscure rather than clarify. If someone is obscuring the situation then its a sure-fire bet they are hiding something.

This fascinating article by the BBC Does 'misspeak' mean lying? gives some recent examples.

If you want to get really heavy you can dip into things like Language Truth and Logic I suppose this demonstrates the operate in the social world we have to make compromises and this means sometimes accepting at face value what we are told...can you imagine how you might end up with no Friends if you brought out your Truth Table in an attempt to verify everything that was said!

You can take the above post as true If and Only If The Post is True :)

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