I’m a Truth Wizard & one of the real“naturals”
as depicted on “Lie to Me”
Being able to see lies is a peculiar thing. At first, I had no idea that I was unique. It was something I grew into over time. I slowly realized that what I can see, others cannot. It wasn’t like I had a revelation one day that I was a human lie detector. Nothing could be further from the truth. I didn’t know that I could spot lies. For me, I just very slowly began to see over the years as I grew up that I was exceptionally skilled at reading people.
I’d watch perfect strangers, and tell friends about what I’d see just as matter-of-fact conversation. I enjoyed reading others, and so I would share it. I’d identify falsehoods people would tell, personality traits and attributes without even knowing people–thinking that others would see them, too (here is one story as an example).
I was always surprised that no one else saw what I saw.
My friends would stare back at me in disbelief. They’d either give me eyes of distrust, or they’d tell me I was crazy, over-analyzing everything. Or they’d think I was making it all up, until what I’d say would prove to be true, over and over again, and then friends were either in awe, speechless, or didn’t know how to respond. Some would pester me, question me, and want to know how I could see all these things that they couldn’t. Others would quietly retreat, and not want to discuss it. They’d feel inadequate because they knew they couldn’t see what I could.
Of course, when I was asked how I did it, I didn’t have an answer. I just could. It got to the point that I scared friends with secrets away from me.
People loved to say, “Oh, you must be psychic.” I wasn’t psychic, and I grew tired of people calling me psychic over the years, trying to explain why I could see so much, because I knew that wasn’t it. I knew what I saw was based on concrete, real things, and nothing magical, but I just couldn’t explain it.
At that time, I just rationalized to myself that I understood people more than the average person, that perhaps I was a natural-born psychologist, but there had to be plenty of other people like me who could do the same thing, so I set out on a mission to find them.
For five years, I kept trying to find someone else like me–to no avail. This endless search frustrated me. I couldn’t find anyone who could relate to the “true” me. At times, it was isolating and lonely.
Why was I so different? Why did I understand others more than most people?
It wasn’t until October of 2004 that I finally found a possible explanation for why. I found an article on MSNBC talking about deception detection (truth) wizards. Wizards were people who could detect a lie with incredible accuracy–at least of 80% of the time–whereas the average person can only detect lies between 45-55% of the time. These wizards made up less than 1% of the people tested.
This article stopped me dead in my tracks. I remember my heart racing. I was thinking, could this be it? I had an innate sense that it was. It all added up. It all made sense. But could I see lies, and how good was I?
That day was an epiphany for me, and the beginning of a major paradigm shift for me as well. It was pivotal in understanding “why” I was so different. When I plugged in that I could spot deception, everything that was unexplainable in my life became explainable. What didn’t make sense to me–suddenly made sense. Everything around me started to change, and while I didn’t find out I was a wizard for two more years, I gained confidence that I did, in fact, share the ability.
Prior to reading about this study, I honestly had no idea I was good at deception detection. I never took interest in it, never read about it or studied it. I never made the connection that my skills of understanding people translated into the ability to spot lies. Yes, I spotted lies, but so did everyone else, from time-to-time, so it wasn’t notable for me.
Since finding this article back in October of 2004, I put myself to the test, and continue to do so today. I wanted to find out where on the continuum I stood. I had no idea. I knew I was better than average, but that was all I knew. In 21 months of testing myself, I became shocked at my accuracy level. I was nearly certain I was above 80%.
I was correct. I participated in the study of wizards by Dr. Maureen O’Sullivan at the University of San Francisco in August 2006, and I was identified as a truth wizard. Dr. O’Sullivan actually came out to meet me, and studied how I came to the conclusions I came to. It was fascinating that I was the subject of further deception detection research. Scientists are using Truth Wizards to expand their understanding of how to spot a liar.
I think my strongest skill is my innate ability to understand human behavior, and seeing lies is just a sub-skill of that. When I see a face of a stranger in a photograph or meet a stranger, I get an immediate sense of their personality. I can tell you 20 things about someone just from a photograph, or a brief encounter without words. This is the skill that I think sets me a part and makes me able to discern deception so quickly, and much of that ability, from my attempt to understand it, I suspect occurs in the subconscious of my brain.
When I see a face, my brain immediately remembers, without any thought on my part, the name of someone who resembles this stranger, and I immediately have a framework and baseline understanding of someone without any words exchanged. This is what gives me the edge at understanding people, and spotting lies.
So come along with me as I journey forward in this discovery. I will blog, and explore it more now that I can define it. I will post how I see the world, when I see questionable things, and what I make of it all.
You can help me, too! By leaving a comment, in support or against my postings, you are helping me create a historical record. Your comments show time and date stamps, and your opinion verifies my position so that people can’t accuse me of changing my mind. Leaving an e-mail behind would be nice 🙂 in case we need to verify what people actually said down the road.
My goal is to have a blog that accurately identifies my skills so that I can take this to another level and utilize my skills for the benefit of people and society in a positive and valuable way.