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Detection of Deception by Detection “Wizards”

Wizards of deception detection are rare individuals who achieve scores of 80% or higher on at least two of three videotaped lie detection tests. Most people's accuracy on these tests is about 50%, as would be expected by chance alone. Of more than 15,000 people tested, only 47 have been so classified. Although these individuals are termed “wizards,” their accuracy is not due to magic but to a particular kind of social-emotional cognition coupled with a strong motivation to discern the truthfulness of others.

Although the exact distribution of the ability to detect deception is not known, increasing evidence suggests that it is distributed mesokurtically (normally), like many psychological and physical variables. Among a hundred randomly selected people, most will be average in height. Only a ...

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