Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Theatre of the Absurd: Walker Deflects Wisconsinites Attention Away from Vilifying Public Employees with Phony Recognition Program.

I warned you! It's finally arrived, the Walker event mentioned here a number of days ago.

This amazingly low tech video pronouncement by Governor Walker, with his irritatingly nasal way of saying “thousands” and “Wisconsin,” is a psychological treasure trove of markers indicating insincerity or lying. I posted a little research below, that might help you understand why you have a visceral negative reaction to this interesting piece of “compassionate” conservatism. At the governor’s web site, Walker’s speech writers came up with this press release and copy:
Governor Scott Walker today announced a program to recognize the hard work and dedication of state employees.  The State Employee Recognition Program will honor state employees that go the extra mile in their service. Wisconsin is grateful for the dedication and hard work of our public servants,” said Governor Scott Walker.  “We want to thank all state employees for everything they do … with public recognition through this program.  

With hooded eyes, shifting body and shrugging shoulders, Walker can’t muster a moment of truth here in his darkened hideaway:

Conservatives will eat this up. It's a party thing, where authoritarian leaders are praised for their “courage,” and shallow signs of placation that reaffirm their humanity. 

But why do Republicans buy into their own echo chamber so easily, believing and defending these purely political displays? The following is a surprising revelation about those who are more liberal, trusting people and society, as opposed to conservatives, who don’t:
Psychcentral: Surprisingly, it was those highest in trusting others that emerged as the superstar lie detectors. High trusters were more sensitive to deceit and more accurate at detecting which of the interviewees were lying. 
Contrary to our expectations it was those low in trusting others who performed worst. They were least accurate at spotting liars and most likely to hire one of the interviewees who had been lying. 
It seemed that the high-trusters were more likely to pay attention to the classic signs of lying, which include fidgeting and changes in vocal intonation and quality. People may become more trusting of others because they are sensitive to lies. Since they are better able to detect them, they have to worry less about being duped.
Some other things to watch for: are they pacifying and soothing themselves, are they hiding their thumbs or their fingers, is the chin down rather than out, and are the shoulders rising toward the ears?

And finally,
There have been two notable meta-analyses that have analysed the findings of a number of research studies and concluded that reliable cues to deception do exist (Zuckerman, DePaulo and Rosenthal, 1981; Vrij, 2000).  Zuckerman et al. (1981) concluded that increases in pupil dilation, speech errors, voice pitch, shrugs, speech hesitations, adaptors … signified deception was present. 
Irony? Check out the next blog post above....

For WTDY's Sly in the Morning take on this, check here.

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