Cues that come from the body language are more significant to me than the words someone communicates. However, even though I have used this skill successfully and quite often, as a starting point in search of further facts before making a decision, there are times where I ignore these cues because my judgment is blinded by stereotyping. We are not skilled to detect deceptions, or at least, not skilled enough. There is always something that can interfere with finding the truth, and can affect us when making decisions. These common things are: Heuristics, fixation, confirmation bias, overconfidence, framing and belief perseverance; things that social psychology studies.
As we know perception occurs in our brain and so it is affected by what we know about the subject and similar cases. Our brain quickly connects any previous known experiences with the case we are dealing at the moment, in order to find an algorithm that was previously used to judge a similar situation. Being aware of what affects us when making a judgment can make a huge difference; nevertheless, it cannot completely eliminate the problem with misjudgment. In my case for example, I have been misjudged and stereotyped often, so I made it my mission to be very cautious when judging others’ actions and motives. Yet, just the other day I found myself in an embarrassing situation led by overconfidence and some stereotyping.
I want to add that sometimes people feel too embarrassed to accept their wrong doings. Being afraid of judgement they convince themselves that hiding the truth is better. And, when people make this choice it is very hard to detect deception. In my case for example, the other day, I could have kept the truth to myself and saved my face in front of others. No one else would have ever known that I made that mistake, but me. The reason I decided to swallow my pride and explain to others what really happened is that I always, always try to imagine what could happen to others, what damage I may bring in the worst case scenario if I decide to lie.
Two ways that can help anyone to make the hard decision of telling the truth easier, are: 1) Try to imagine, how this or that little lie can shatter someone’s life, if you make the choice to lie about something. 2) Put yourself in other people’s shoes. This always helps you to make the right choice.
In conclusion, the truth cannot be found. The truth is only known. He or she who holds the truth of facts as they happened must come forward and tell the truth.
We as humans, no matter how superior we may think we are, or how intelligent and developed we become, we will never be able to judge whether someone is telling the truth or not. The least we can do to prevent ourselves from wrongly accusing others is to restrain ourselves from jumping into conclusions and give others the benefit of doubt. We can even ask more questions to investigate each case further and look for more unbiased facts, but again, “facts” do not tell the truth, as there is always a possibility that we may misinterpret these facts based on what I shared earlier, our errors in our thinking affected by our heuristics, fixation, overconfidence, framing or belief perseverance.
Nonetheless, my dear reader and friend, there is always a solution to even the hardest quest in the universe: Finding the truth. This solution is awareness. This is not the awareness of the person on the quest, but the awareness of the person who holds the truth. When those who hold the truth of the consequences that their actions have brought forth, become aware of the benefits that come from telling the truth versus the great damage that come from lying about it, then the quest is won.
I constantly remind myself, my children and my students that no matter how hard the problem may seem at certain point, the right solution will always be found, but only if one tells the truth soon enough so we can fix what went wrong. In contrary, hiding the truth and lying will make the problems bigger and deeper and fixing them will become harder and harder.