Monday, October 03, 2005

Turns out Liars are Really Smart

Nestled quietly between several articles on David Dingwall's get rich shenanigans and subsequent supposed fall from grace (Gee, I sure would like a $500,000.00 severance), I spotted an interesting blurb on brain matter and lying. (Globe and Mail, Friday Sept 30) Recent research from the States, written up in the British Journal of Psychiatry has revealed that pathological liars and manipulators have a higher percentage of white matter and a lower percentage of grey matter than us honest folk.

So, what does this mean? Pathological liars (PL's) are wired differently, particularly in their prefrontal cortex which plays a key role in our ability to feel remorse, and empathy that impacts our actions and behaviour. It's our moral centre. According to the article, the increased white matter in the brain of a "PL" provides the necessary thinking and verbal skills to manipulate, connive and tell big whoppers. The grey matter deficit decreases moral constraint.
After reading the article, I was left with some thoughts and questions..........
Where did the research idea come from in the first place? What is a pathological liar? How long do you have to be one to qualify for the research? How often do you have to lie to be considered for this elite group? If you start lying in adulthood, does it increase your white matter? Can a manipulator manipulate their brain matter to become better at what they do so well? Did they put a bunch of questions together to identify these folks or did they just randomly select people from a Liberal Caucus meeting? Were they asked the following questions?

  • What do you do for a living?
  • How often do you lie? When to whom?
  • Would you lie to your mother?
  • Would you cheat your best friend to get ahead?
  • Would you use taxpayers money to line your pockets?
  • Do you believe that Jean Chretien is an honest person?
  • Has anyone called you a big fat liar?
  • When was the last time you made an honest buck?

Researchers believe that their findings will have far reaching affects on identifying habitual liars that are criminal suspects. Hmmmm...........more than they realize. If they get real good at measuring what "matters" we may be able to identify future politicians, car salesmen, advertising executives, agents, spin doctors, psychics and lobbyists at infancy. Surely it would benefit helpful Headhunters to assist clients in exploring their predestined career paths. Ah, the ramifications and manipulations to consider.......