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How to Spot out Liars in a Digital World

How to Spot out Liars in a Digital World
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The digital world has opened our lives up in many ways. Social connections can be made at a click of a button so it’s become a fast and easy place to meet people. This ease means you can reach millions of people, interact and have conversations as well as the control to respond or ignore anyone you want, which can be much harder in the real world. Building multiple relationships at once becomes the norm online with those people living in any corner of the world.

But what’s the downside to all of this? The problem is that, with the ease of building relationships with others, comes the greater the risk of being scammed. According to the Internet Complaint Centre, a whopping $173 million was lost by people scammed by romantic fraudsters just in California alone.[1]

If the digital world is a great place to build new connections and enhance our lives, why do more and more people fall for these scams online than they probably would in the real world?

How Our Minds Work: The Truth Bias

For our social, career and even governmental relationships to work, a certain amount of trust has to be in place. This is because questioning people’s veracity at every turn doesn’t create harmonious relationships. In other words, it’s become a social default to ignore inconsistencies because we want to trust that what we hear, see and read is the truth. This is known as the truth bias.

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    And while the truth bias is essentially a peaceful and amicable way to go about the world, unfortunately it provides the average liar with an advantage.

    Online presence takes away real life verbal and physical clues that face-to-face communication provides which is one way to fall for a liar’s words. But many people often dismiss discrepancies in order to avoid upfront questioning and would prefer to believe they are speaking to a truthful person.

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      The internet essentially acts as a mask making it hard to really know who we’re exchanging words with. In the real world, we can get a feel for a person’s energy or body language which helps create a fuller picture. But behind a screen, we are reliant on unpracticed techniques to figure a person out and our brains haven’t been able to build up enough data in order to spot a friend or foe without these physical interactions.

      Why the Internet Isn’t What It Seems

      Most people have put their stamp on the internet in the form of a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or dating profile and almost everyone is guilty of filtering, photoshopping or adjusting their pictures in some way. In most cases it’s harmless. We often exaggerate our hobbies and interests in order to make ourselves appear better to others. Again this can be a subconscious thing and quite innocent because we all want to build a unique and interesting image in order to attract people.

        However, we all know there are people out there that bend the truth when it comes to their profiles which can be hard to spot. Their life seems almost perfect with their top education, multilingual skills and high-earning job. Can this really be true? How can you trust that it’s a genuine person?

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        How to Spot out Liars in a Digital World

        Building relationships online is a great way of meeting new people and most of the time it’s not all bad. Being cautious, however, is a must because you don’t have these instinctive verbal or physical clues that you’d normally work from.

        Having the skills to decode a person’s personality, sincerity and veracity on the other side of a screen is down to getting a feel for the person and making educated guesses.

          Educated guesses is an open-minded yet cautious way to go about getting to know someone you may not see in person. If you find yourself building a relationship online:

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          1. Make a few guesses first. From what you see, try to find both positive and negative sides to them. This will help keep a balanced view without the truth bias kicking in straight away. Look at the overall person, not just what they tell you or what another person tells you about them.
          2. Do an internet search on them. This may appear like stalking but it’s helpful to make sure their different profiles show consistency across the board. This includes consistency of information as well as personality in terms of what they share or how they interact.
          3. Look for evidence that all information aligns. Look back on your initial guesses about the person and see if they match up (or don’t match up) with any of the information you’ve gathered. After weighing it out, you should be able to see if the evidence supports one guess over the other.

          When assessing someone online, you need to be logical instead of relying on instinct which serves us best when we see someone face-to-face. Having a more logical approach will negate the tendency to allow the truth bias to override and therefore reduce the vulnerability of being deceived.

          Next time you meet someone online, take a step back and allow yourself to be cautious. While it’s good to trust others, be aware of the truth bias we all tend to use when interacting with others and make sure you don’t make yourself vulnerable to the scammers.

          Reference

          [1] Sheriff McDonnell and Cyber Investigators: Love Hurts: A Forum and Discussion on Online Dating Safety

          More by this author

          Anna Chui

          Anna is the Chief Editor and Content Strategist of Lifehack. She's also a communication expert who shares tips on motivation and relationships.

          The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You The Purpose Of Friendship: The Only 4 Types Of Friends You Need In Life How Self-Doubt Keeps You Stuck (And How to Overcome It) How to Live Life to the Fullest and Enjoy Each Day 30 Books Everyone Should Read At Least Once In Their Lives

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          Last Updated on February 11, 2021

          20 Amazing Facts About Dreams that You Might Not Know About

          20 Amazing Facts About Dreams that You Might Not Know About
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          Dreams — Mysterious, bewildering, eye-opening and sometimes a nightmarish living hell. Dreams are all that and much more.

          Here are 20 amazing facts about dreams that you might have never heard about:

          Fact #1: You can’t read while dreaming, or tell the time

            If you are unsure whether you are dreaming or not, try reading something. The vast majority of people are incapable of reading in their dreams.

            The same goes for clocks: each time you look at a clock it will tell a different time and the hands on the clock won’t appear to be moving as reported by lucid dreamers.

            Fact #2: Lucid dreaming

            There is a whole subculture of people practicing what is called lucid or conscious dreaming. Using various techniques, these people have supposedly learned to assume control of their dreams and do amazing things like flying, passing through walls, and traveling to different dimensions or even back in time.

            Want to learn how to control your dreams? You can try these tips:

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            Lucid Dreaming: This Is How You Can Control Your Dreams

            Fact #3: Inventions inspired by dreams

            Dreams are responsible for many of the greatest inventions of mankind. A few examples include:

            • The idea for Google -Larry Page
            • Alternating current generator -Tesla
            • DNA’s double helix spiral form -James Watson
            • The sewing machine -Elias Howe
            • Periodic table -Dimitri Mendeleyev

            …and many, many more.

            Fact #4: Premonition dreams

            There are some astounding cases where people actually dreamt about things which happened to them later, in the exact same ways they dreamed about.

            You could say they got a glimpse of the future, or it might have just been coincidence. The fact remains that this is some seriously interesting and bizarre phenomena. Some of the most famous premonition dreams include:

            • Abraham Lincoln dreamt of His Assassination
            • Many of the victims of 9/11 had dreams warning them about the catastrophe
            • Mark Twain’s dream of his brother’s demise
            • 19 verified precognitive dreams about the Titanic catastrophe

            Fact #5: Sleep paralysis

            Hell is real and it is called sleep paralysis. It’s the stuff of true nightmares. I’ve been a sleep paralysis sufferer as a kid and I can attest to how truly horrible it is.

            Two characteristics of sleep paralysis are the inability to move (hence paralysis) and a sense of an extremely evil presence in the room with you. It doesn’t feel like a dream, but 100% real. Studies show that during an attack, sleep paralysis sufferers show an overwhelming amygdala activity. The amygdala is responsible for the “fight or flight” instinct and the emotions of fear, terror and anxiety. Enough said!

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            Fact #6: REM sleep disorder

            In the state of REM (rapid-eye-movement) stage of your sleep your body is normally paralyzed. In rare cases, however, people act out their dreams. These have resulted in broken arms, legs, broken furniture, and in at least one reported case, a house burnt down.

            Fact #7: Sexual dreams

            The very scientifically-named “nocturnal penile tumescence” is a very well documented phenomena. In laymen’s term, it simply means that you get a stiffy while you sleep. Actually, studies indicate that men get up to 20 erections per dream.

            Fact #8: Unbelievable sleepwalkers

              Sleepwalking is a very rare and potentially dangerous sleep disorder. It is an extreme form of REM sleep disorder, and these people don’t just act out their dreams, but go on real adventures at night.

              Lee Hadwin is a nurse by profession, but in his dreams he is an artist. Literally. He “sleepdraws” gorgeous portraits, of which he has no recollection afterwards. Strange sleepwalking “adventures” include:

              • A woman having sex with strangers while sleepwalking
              • A man who drove 22 miles and killed his cousin while sleepwalking
              • A sleepwalker who walked out of the window from the third floor, and barely survived

              Fact #9: Dream drug

              There are actually people who like dreaming and dreams so much that they never want to wake up. They want to continue on dreaming even during the day, so they take an illegal and extremely potent hallucinogenic drug called Dimethyltryptamine. It is actually only an isolated and synthetic form of the chemical our brains produce naturally during dreaming.

              Fact #10 Dream-catcher

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                The dream-catcher is one of the most well-known Native American symbols. It is a loose web or webs woven around a hoop and decorated with sacred objects meant to protect against nightmares.

                Fact #11: Increased brain activity

                You would associate sleeping with peace and quiet, but actually our brains are more active during sleep than during the day.

                Fact #12: Creativity and dreams

                As we mentioned before, dreams are responsible for inventions, great artworks and are generally just incredibly interesting. They are also “recharging” our creativity.

                Scientists also say that keeping a dream diary helps with creativity.

                In rare cases of REM disorder, people actually don’t dream at all. These people suffer from significantly decreased creativity and perform badly at tasks requiring creative problem solving.

                Fact #13: Pets dream too

                  Our animal companions dream as well. Watch a dog or a cat sleep and you can see that they are moving their paws and making noises like they were chasing something. Go get ’em buddy!

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                  Fact #14: You always dream—you just don’t remember it

                  Many people claim that they don’t dream at all, but that’s not true: we all dream, but up to 60% of people don’t remember their dreams at all.

                  Fact #15: Blind people dream too

                  Blind people who were not born blind see images in their dreams but people who were born blind don’t see anything at all. They still dream, and their dreams are just as intense and interesting, but they involve the other senses beside sight.

                  Fact #16: In your dreams, you only see faces that you already know

                    It is proven that in dreams, we can only see faces that we have seen in real life before. So beware: that scary-looking old lady next to you on the bus might as well be in your next nightmare.

                    Fact #17: Dreams tend to be negative

                    Surprisingly, dreams are more often negative than positive. The three most widely reported emotions felt during dreaming are anger, sadness and fear.

                    Fact #18: Multiple dreams per night

                    You can have up to seven different dreams per night depending on how many REM cycles you have. We only dream during the REM period of sleep, and the average person dreams one to two hours every night.

                    Fact #19: Gender differences

                    Interestingly, 70% of all the characters in a man’s dream are other men, but women’s dream contain an equal amount of women and men. Also men’s dreams contain a lot more aggression. Both women and men dream about sexual themes equally often.

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                    Fact #20: Not everyone dreams in color

                    As much as 12% of people only dream in black and white.

                    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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