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Read This and You Might Watch the Debates Differently

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Last week, tens of millions of people tuned into the first debate between President Donald J. Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden. Along with listening to the candidates’ words, many viewers of the closely watched political spectacles will also pay attention to the debaters’ demeanor, posture, tics, and gestures.

Body language can exude confidence or awkwardness, charisma or anxiety. In recent years, it has also become the subject of a small cottage industry premised on the idea that nonverbal cues can reveal important truths about people in high-stakes situations. But, no one has a giveaway like Pinocchio and his nose.

California State University, Fullerton psychologist Iris Blandón-Gitlin, simply avoids looking at such nonverbal cues altogether. “My research is focused mostly on understanding what people are saying,” she says. In general, she finds that lying takes effort, and liars tend to tell more simplistic stories, with fewer details. Continue reading on Undark