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Sales pitches: the lies have it.

Sales pitches: The lies have it

Have I got a deal for you. A steal, really. Act now and you can have this little beauty for a song. Trust me, you'll love it.

You've heard it before--the siren song of a salesperson on the prowl. And you can tell, by an arch of the seller's eyebrows, a stammer, a nervous shuffle, when you are being lied to, right? Not quite.

In sales situations, the seller is unlikely to give away deceptive intentions with nonverbal cues, report psychologists Peter J. DePaulo of the University of Missouri in St. Louis and Bella M. DePaulo of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. The researchers videotaped simulated sales pitches by 14 people -- 10 experienced retail salespersons and four automobile customers who had bargained over the price of at least three trade-ins. Sellers made pitches for products and cars they liked and disliked. Videotapes were then judged by 107 college students, some of whom were told to pay attention to body movements and speech patterns linked to deception in nonsales situations.

Judges, even those given special instructions, could not tell when sellers were being truthful or deceptive, report the investigators. Nonverbal cues associated with lying were picked up by the judges, they explain, but these cues did not correlate with sellers' lies. Their conclusion: Experienced sellers, confident in their ability to deceive and with no qualms about doing so, may not inadvertently give away their lies with nonverbal cues.
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Title Annotation:experiment fails to detect lies by nonverbal cues
Author:Bower, Bruce
Publication:Science News
Date:Aug 27, 1988
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