Dr. Darrin Griffin Delivers Lecture at Marist

No one likes being lied to, but how exactly does one recognize when they are being deceived? On Thursday, September 26 in Fusco Hall, Dr. Darrin Griffin gave a lecture to students and professors on how to do so.

Griffin came to Marist as the mentor of Dr. Zach Arth, Assistant Professor in Sports Communication. Dr. Griffin received his PHD from the University of Buffalo. He is the coauthor of Lying and Deception in Human Interaction andis currently a professor at the University of Alabama, where he teaches classes on lying and deception and works as a manager for the Human Communication Research Laboratory.

He continues to research lying and deception, nonverbal communication, and deafness. As of now, he is working primarily focusing his research on helping those who are deaf, which is a meaningful field of research for him since both of his parents are deaf. With the help of a grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA), Dr. Griffin is working on ways to improve tornado warnings for those who are deaf, as the usual warning for such an event comes in the form of a loud alarm. He also works to help find ways to assist adults who are deaf and to come up with a radar device that can pick up the different forms of sign language.  

After sharing all of this with the audience, Dr. Griffin began the presentation. First, he described what exactly he meant by deception. He claimed that deception is the intentional act to mislead without prior notification. He then went on to go through the different branches of the history of deception science.

The first of these branches involved the creation and usage of the polygraph. Dr. Griffin told the audience about his experience with the polygraph, as he formerly interned with the FBI in Quantico. In order to make it into the FBI (as well as the CIA and NSA), one must complete a polygraph test. He told the audience how they would need to be strapped in and that the polygraph is an effective device to reveal whether or not someone is lying. It is even more effective, though, when the person taking the polygraph test believes it works.

Dr. Griffin then went on to describe Paul Ekman’s Cue theory, which is the idea that liars will feel guilt, react to stakes or punishment, and behave in unique ways that differ from that of someone who is telling the truth. He went over the Pinocchio Effect, which is the theory that those who lie usually won’t make direct eye contact, will tend to fidget, and with have a shaky voice. He also went over the concept of dramaturgy, which is the concept that people believe that life is a stage. He described that, according to the concept, everyone wants to be viewed as honest or favorable.

Dr. Griffin went on to the way that data about deception is analyzed, and how valid that data can be, as there are so many variables that have to be accounted for and that could be missed when it comes to deception. Lastly, he went on to speak about the current deception science paradigm, which involved basic ways to analyze language, context, genre, active questioning, and confessions when someone may be attempting to be deceptive.

The seminar was one valuable for communications and psychology students alike, as well as those who may be interested in the topic of lying and deception. Hopefully, Dr. Griffin will return to Marist one day to provide more insight into his fascinating field of research.

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