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Body Language of Deception

Kevin Hogan

You CAN do a better job at reading the body language of deception.

But you can also destroy or dramatically screw up all you hope to gain by looking for the deception. Here's what I mean. A decade ago, I spoke with a former student who was working with the government. I'll just leave that at that. He's probably reading this today. He asked me if I'd be up for training airport employees to read the body language of people going through security at airports.

Deceptive Body Language This was before TSA became the mess it is today.

It was a great idea until about our third conversation when he asked me, "OK now, let's say a guy is part of a plan to do some damage on a given day. He's going through security. What signs of nervousness, fear or anxiety should we be looking for? What don't I know?"

Now, "M" is one sharp guy. He's worked for intelligence. He must know with near certainty that there is no answer to this question. He also knows that someone somewhere is going to get a BIG CONTRACT for this kind of a consulting project. He's gotta be praying I have a satisfactory answer. Smart people always ask, "What don't I know." That's how they get to be smart...and "M" is the most logical, rational, clear minded thinker I know.

I was about to really disappoint him and pull millions of dollars out of our pockets and put them into someone elses pockets who would tell the government something I wouldn't.

Reading the body language of people walking through security is no problem. The government wasn't looking for that information however. They wanted something that is not possible in 2014.

The very notion of trying to discover who is potentially part of a terrorist plot (for example) or trying to get a read on someone "dangerous" is simply not possible. Yes of course there are successful stereotyping typologies that show increased probability of certain populations over other populations...certain demographics over other demographics.

Here's the fact: There is no predictable or identifiable "body language of people who are going to blow things up today."

It doesn't exist.

Here's the short story why.

In order to try and quantify this "body language" and connect it to serious "danger" the coder would require having video of the bad guys entering security in about 200 consecutive 9/11's from around the world and then contrasting their coded behaviors with hundreds of other people entering security at the same time, in the same locations (next in line) and then differentiating between the two sets of coded behaviors in a couple of hundred people.

THEN, you would need the coded behavior of the 200 bad guys at security and contrast their body language with their own previously coded entry into other secure locations like a football game or a concert where they did NOT do something dangerous.

In other words you have to distinguish their dangerous cues from their non-dangerous cues and then you have to contrast that with norms.

I'm not saying it is 100% impossible.

It simply isn't going to happen in your lifetime or mine.

The FIRST piece of information YOU need to UNDERSTAND in analyzing the BODY LANGUAGE OF DECEPTION is that you must NOT think like a government. Otherwise you'll screw up relationships the way governments waste incredible sums of money hiring bogus "experts"...

Body Language Varies Significantly Among Contexts, Environments, Populations and Demographics

You and I rightfully want to know if "they" are deceiving us.

The problem we instantly face is that nonverbal communication varies dramatically among people from different walks of life, different income groups, different statuses and levels of power in different situations.

Many in the government then and even today believe that there are body language signals that people will exhibit as they go through security that will point to those who are going to try to do large scale harm to innocent people.

Interesting idea. Just zero evidence for such a notion.

In the real world, there is a lot you can do to help yourself wade through the mixed messages we all receive from others, every single day.

Deception is the normal state of human behavior.

In almost every communication you have, there are many elements of deception.

It's a simple fact.


  • The other person is deceiving you to hurt you.
  • The other person is deceiving you to help you.
  • The other person is deceiving you for reasons other than helping and hurting.
  • The other person is deceiving themselves.
  • And you are doing the same four things that everyone else is doing.
The degree to which it is "bad" or "good" is variable, of course.

Deception simply means someone is cloaking their true feelings about something.

Before you learn some cues you have to know WHAT you are looking for and WHY you want to get certain pieces of valuable information.
First: What do people lie about? ...

Continue: Page | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 |

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Kevin Hogan
Network 3000 Publishing
16526 W. 78th St. #138
Eden Prairie, MN 55346
(612) 616-0732

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