As an expert in deception identified by science, Renee looks for behavioral evidence when assessing a suspect or person of interest. “People don’t realize how hard it is cognitively to balance the truth from a lie,” says Renee. “When we lie, we leak clues to what we really think without us even knowing it. It’s just few people know what to look for.”
Dr. Maureen O’Sullivan of the University of San Francisco, talks about the experts, such as Renee, “Our wizards are extraordinarily attuned to detecting the nuances of facial expressions, body language and ways of talking and thinking. Some of them can observe a videotape for a few seconds and amazingly they can describe eight details about the person on the tape…They seem to have templates of people that they use to make sense of the behavioral deviations they observe. So it is not a set of disembodied cues, but embedded behaviors that are consistent with each other as well as with the kind of person exhibiting them.”
The other scientist who was involved in the study, Dr. Paul Ekman, says, “We’ve talked to 15,000 people in every walk of life and we have found 50 who have this really nearly perfect ability to spot liars, and that’s without any specialized training. We’re still trying to find out how in the world did they learn this skill? Are they the sort of Mozart’s of lie detection; they just had it?” (NPR Radio, January 2009).