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Paul Ekman and the Science of 'Lie to Me'

Updated on August 21, 2016

Lie to Me*

Lie to Me is a television show produced by Fox and stars Tim Roth as Professor Cal Lightman, a world renowned expert on lie detection, with a particular talent for reading micro-expressions that flash across people’s faces, betraying what they are really feeling. The abilities displayed on the show by Cal and his team seems almost supernatural at times, but accuracy is maintained by consultation with scientific advisor, Dr. Paul Ekman.

Paul Ekman

Paul Ekman graduated from Adelphi University in 1958 with a Ph.D. in clinical psychology but his interest in body language and facial expressions began four years earlier, becoming the basis for his Master’s thesis in 1955. Thus began 30 years of study in the areas of human emotion, non-verbal communication, including facial expressions, and deceit.

Dr. Ekman is currently the Manager of the Paul Ekman Group (Lightman Group anyone?) which produces the web application, F.A.C.E. Training (Facial Expression. Awareness. Compassion. Emotion.), and METT: the micro-expression training tool; both of which are used by Government agencies, business professionals, Doctors and Teachers, to help detect when lies are being told.

There is an excellent blog on the Fox community website in which Dr. Ekman analyses the techniques used in the latest episode of Lie to Me*. It's a must read for any serious fan of the show.

Finally, if you really want to study Dr. Ekman’s work in more detail you should look up some of his books. “Telling Lies” is an excellent introduction, and “Why Kids Lie: How Parents Can Encourage Truthfulness” is of particular relevance to parents, guardians or anyone else working with children.


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      antonyo 5 years ago

      I love the show

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      milo 6 years ago

      i think that it would be so amazing to tel when some one lies to your face.The show is so cool the idea that you can tel when someone is lying just by looking at them is so amazing.

    • Barraoc profile image

      B.C. Hollywood 6 years ago from Co. Meath, Ireland

      Yeah, it's a great show. Thanks for the comment!

    • HighwayPhantom profile image

      HighwayPhantom 6 years ago from The Phantom of the Opera's lair

      Oooooooooh I love Lie to it religiously!!! I tick everyone off by going 'yeah. your lip dipped in the right hand corner, your eyebrows drew together and you rubbed your thumb against your palm. Do you want to try tell me that again WITHOUT lying?' LOL

      p.s please read Undertow