Prof. Dean: Welcome back, Class! Let’s get started.
Prof. Dean: Welcome back to the Second Quarter of Psychology 601: TRUTH OR FICTION? I trust you all had a good break and are ready to explore the wonders of Chapter Two: Deception in the Modern Era.
Prof. Dean: You all are graduate students but we have a new guest, undergraduate Jim Moeller, who has joined us. I see him in the back there. Welcome Mr. Moeller. And, of course, we welcome back Ms. Tiffany Couch who is auditing the class. Welcome back Ms. Couch.
Prof. Dean: Now, last term we divided into groups. Each group was given an assignment to be presented to the whole class this first week of the second term. Let’s see, first up we have the Copperheads with a presentation they have titled “Lie to Me.” Sounds relevant and interesting.
Prof. Dean: Let’s see, the Copperheads are Messrs. Brancaccio, Hansen,
Hansen: I came in late.
Prof. Dean: Smith, Burkman, Leavitt, and Stuart. Copperheads, are you ready to present “Lie to Me?”
Brancaccio: Yes, thank you Professor Dean. One change, though. Group Member Steve Stuart decided to drop out of our group half way through our preparation.
Hansen: Build that bridge!
David Madore: We invited him to join the Patriots.
Prof. Dean: I will approve that change. Mr. Moeller, that opens up a place for you. Would you like to join the Copperheads?
Brancaccio: Glad to have him – I’m sure you’ll fit right in Mr. Moeller.
Prof. Dean: Proceed, Mr. Brancaccio.
Brancaccio: Thank you, Prof. Dean. The Copperheads have elected me as Chief Viper and so let me begin by laying out the background to our experiment. I’m sure most of us have whiled away many hours vegetating in front of the TV, especially after exams.
Brancaccio: One of my favorite shows is “Lie to Me.” The show is based on the book by the same name by Dr. Paul Ekman. Dr. Ekman claims to have discovered a universal truth in Anthropology and Human Psychology – facial expressions reveal inner emotions and these expressions are uniform across cultures; they can’t be hidden. The TV show explores the many real life applications that might present to an expert at reading those facial expressions and exposing the underlying emotions of the subjects.
Brancaccio: We all agreed the show is entertaining. We wondered if there might be a grain of truth in the science claimed by Dr. Ekman. Our hypothesis is that the science is bunk. We decided to test our hypothesis by analyzing video of one of our members, Tim Leavitt, who was filmed during a regular meeting of the Vancouver City Council, where he presides as Mayor.
Brancaccio: Our members applied the principles they learned from Dr. Ekman to the video and they each wrote separate reports of what they saw. Simultaneously, our subject, the Mayor, gave us an independent commentary of what he was thinking and feeling throughout the ordeal. By the way, each of our group members is also a councilor; with the exception of myself – I am the editor of the Columbian newspaper and an expert at exposing lying Republicans.
Brancaccio: I will now ask Viper Pro Tempore, Larry Smith, to take it from here.
Smith: Thank you Lou. Before I proceed I would like to ask Prof. Dean if I may switch groups, also.
Carolyn Crane: We have invited him to join the Watchdogs.
Hansen: What? Oh, right! I volunteer to be Viper Pro Tem.
Prof. Dean: I see no problem with that, Mr. Smith – let’s see, the Watchdogs already have Messrs. Crane, Tweet, Patella, Peterson, and McClued. Your grade will be reflected in what you present here this evening and all future work with the Watchdogs. Proceed.
Smith: Thank you, Prof. Dean. We examined the CVTV video footage of the 06/03/2013 City of Vancouver Council Meeting; Council Communications. The segment we were most interested in begins at 25:25 and ends at 45:57. We chose this segment because it is particularly rich in what Dr. Ekman refers to as “manipulators.”
Smith: Manipulators are subconscious and involuntary gestures our bodies employ whenever there is dissonance between what we are feeling inside and what is coming out of our mouths. In gambling parlance – these are our “tells.” In other words, our bodies don’t like it when we lie.
Smith: When we lie, we are uncomfortable. When the hearer knows the speaker is lying, they are both uncomfortable. Such situations are often exploited for comedic effect in movies and plays. This situation was particularly appropriate for our experiment because everyone in the room and watching on CVTV knew the Mayor was lying.
Smith: I will now let Mr. Burkman operate the slideshow while our subject, Mayor Tim Leavitt, provides the commentary and analysis.
Leavitt: Thank you Larry. Let me give the context here.
Leavitt: To set the scene, this is the first time I had had to face the full Council, City Manager, and City Attorney publicly since David Madore over there handed out at the C-Tran board meeting copies of the $500,000 worth of contracts between Tri-Met and my other employer, PBS Engineering & Environmental. He did it just to embarrass me because I had previously denied many times that those contracts even existed. It was obviously a crass political move because I’m up for re-election as mayor.
David Madore: Politics is politics, Tim, nothing personal.
Leavitt: I know. I know, I would have done the same to you if I had anything on you.
Brancaccio: No kidding. I’ve got our Pulitzer A-Team working 24-7 on you, Madore.
Leavitt: Anyhow, the councilors had each taken a piece out of me in private because they had made public statements in my defense.
Prof. Dean: So in this video clip you don’t actually lie, do you?
Leavitt: Well, yes, I do. That whole thing is a lie. You see, I had promised the Council that I would immediately inform them if any of these contracts were to come up in the future. I meant it, too. Then, here’s Madore producing contracts dating back to 2003 with my name in them as “Classification 1 Senior Environmental Engineer.” He upstaged me!
Leavitt: But that’s not the worst of it. How can I bring up my plan to by-pass C-Tran voters and fund the operation and maintenance of light rail directly out of City of Vancouver coffers? Here we had just told a judge and the whole world that the CRC and light rail were not city business.
Larry Patella: Like Hell they’re not! Let’s see you slime your way out of this in court.
David Madore: And don’t worry, Tim. If you have to spend the next year in our county jail I’ll see that you have internet access so you can still run your re-election campaign.
Leavitt: Thanks, Eric and David. I appreciate that. All the same, you can appreciate that I did not know any of that at the time. I was pretty apprehensive broaching the subject for the first time, publicly, as you can see from the video.
Prof. Dean: Let’s get on with it, shall we?
Leavitt: Yes, of course. Jack?
Jack Burkman: OK here’s the CVTV footage of Vancouver City Council meeting 06/03/2013 Council Communications beginning at 25:25 and ending at 45:57.
Leavitt: OK, here I am stalling, stalling, pretending to be interested in the arts and Boy Scouts and everything. Then, the moment of truth, at 25:25 I blurt it out.
Leavitt: These are the manipulators Dr. Ekman writes about. Most of you know I have taken acting lessons and I thought I had done a pretty good job of looking cool, here.
Leavitt: 25:35 Trying to avoid eye contact with the other councilors and the camera; hint of shame.
Leavitt: 25:37 Rubbing the bridge of my nose.
Leavitt: 25:55 Wiping sweat from my eyebrows.
Leavitt: 25:53 Hiding behind my hand. Classic shame.
Leavitt: 25:46 Closing my eyes trying to shut it all out of my consciousness.
Leavitt: 45:35 Uncalled for defensive gestures.
Leavitt: 45:57 Finding relief in total despair.
Leavitt: And that’s it! Any questions?
Prof. Dean: So, Mr. Leavitt, having reviewed the tape in the light of Dr. Ekman’s research do you feel you were successful in your deceit?
Leavitt: Yes, thank you Professor Dean. I was skeptical at first, but now, having experienced it first hand, I am convinced that Dr. Ekman has unearthed a universal truth – you can’t hide a lie.
Leavitt: I am a believer. In fact, I have asked our City Manager, Eric Holmes, to put up on the city website a link to PBSenj.com where you will find, under “BOOK OFFER,” an opportunity to purchase “Lie To Me,” by Dr. Ekman, at a discount rate to you of only $5.00. Yes, that’s right, this $10 book is available to the next 15,000 callers only for the low, low price of $5.00. No tricks, no gimmicks. Yes, just mention the Promo Code, PANTSONFIRE, and we will rush you your own copy of LIE TO ME by Dr. Ekman and we will make a $5.00 donation to BUILDTHATBRIDGENOW.org or other worthy charity of our choosing. And, remember, for every tax-deductible donation of $20 to PBSenj.com we will send you a copy of LIE TO ME by Dr. Ekman absolutely free.
Brancaccio: We disproved our hypothesis. The science is settled.
Prof. Dean: Thank you, Copperheads.
Prof. Dean: I’ve been asked by the U.N. to present at the next International Panel on Consummate Crap in Stockholm. It looks like I have my material already.
Prof. Dean: OK. Next week we’ll hear from the group, let’s see, the Sixth Estate Bloggers. They’ll be looking at the CRC and answering the question “Why Do We Find Incompetence So Funny?”
Prof. Dean: Class dismissed.