An Expert Takes On ‘Lie to Me’

Published 5 years ago by , Updated March 2nd, 2013 at 5:52 am,

lie to me cast An Expert Takes On Lie to Me

Ever since FOX premiered Lie to Me last season, I’ve been intrigued by Tim Roth’s character, Dr. Cal Lightman. In the show, his talent is simple: he studies micro-expressions & body language to determine if someone is being deceptive. Still, even though it sounds so straight forward and plausible, it does seem a tad bit fantastical. Do I really have a micro-expression?

Shortly after the premiere, I was excited to read that Roth’s character is loosely based on life of psychologist, Paul Ekman. Still, loosely based doesn’t exactly mean that it’s true. Wes Craven has said that A Nightmare on Elm Sreet is “loosely based” on real events and since I’ve yet to meet any gloved gentlemen my dream, I’m still skeptical.

I must not be the only one who’s curious (and too lazy) to read any of Paul Ekman’s books, as Eric Deggans of the St. Petersburg Times sat down with retired FBI Agent, master interrogator and behavioral expert, Joe Navarro to show him some episodes of Lie To Me too see what he thinks.

Here’s what he had to say…

What’s True?

“He doesn’t really hide how he feels and you can read it on his face, how he feels about different things. And I’m often asked that – do I try to hide how I feel about things, and I say that’s just too hard. It’s just too hard.

“If you notice, whenever he makes an inquiry, he tilts his head. Head tilt, other than a smile, is probably one of the more powerful things that we can transmit to say I’m really curious and I’m interested and I’m empathetic. We know that babies recognize it. Mother tilts her head toward the baby, the baby smiles and so forth, so these are powerful things.”

What’s A Lie?

“I’ve seen a couple of episodes here on the show where he immediately points out, oh, you’re doing this, you’re doing that, you’re doing that. And first of all, it makes those people uncomfortable because you become self-conscious… …the minute you begin to call out the behaviors on people, they’ll mask them. So you’ve lost that channel of communication.”

“The one thing that you wouldn’t see in a real setting is sitting across from each other. When people sit, this gets the least amount of work done. Because it’s too confrontational. …in a therapeutic setting or a forensic setting, you would actually sit at an angle so that the person isn’t aroused by you being in front.”

If you found that interesting, make sure you check out the full interview.

He could be completely making this up, but it just sounds so awesome that I don’t care. While I find it interesting, I would in no way feel comfortable being around anyone with such talents. Well, not without a bunch of Botox injections. (Try and check out my micro-expressions then!)

Make sure to watch Lie to Me, Mondays at 9pm on FOX

Source: St. Petersburg Times

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  1. I love the concept, I love the female lead character, but Tim Roth… Sometimes he’s great, sometimes awful, and in Lie To Me he’s trying to be the cool guy, but doesn’t pull it off. Something about his portayal of the (based on a real person or not) lie-doctor doesn’t sit right with me.

  2. for those of you anting to know more about how facial expressions are a window into how we actually feel, you might try picking up Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink. It does a lot of exploring about how decisions are made based on the first few moments of exposure to a person, concept or thing. Within it, I believe that he cites conversations and experiements from said same Dr. Ekman. Fascinating stuff.

  3. I bet I could mask my emotional appearance on the way to the bathroom after volcano tacos.
    I see micro expressions ???

  4. I hate the promo where Roth gets in the girls face and yells, “Say something!” lol. Who does that?

  5. @paulie412

    I guess you’ve never been in a heated game of charades.

  6. Personally, I think this is one of the greatest shows to come out on tv!! I am very interested in the subject of non-verbal communication (i’m 14 yrs old) and have already read one of paul ekmans books and am half way through another. I have been training myself for a while now and I’m starting to see hidden expressions on my parents and brother/sister. BTW the oprah winfrey show is BS! Like, all the guests are acting when they start crying or any of that crap.. it’s soooo funny!! I actually think that all the actors in the show do a very good job, oh, and btw al the info. that the shows says about micro expressions and all that is real. read paul ekmans books… they’re incredible!!