Body language pseudoscience is developing on YouTube

“When a certain gesture is associated with a specific meaning, and when it is implicitly or explicitly presented as scientific, it begins to fall under the umbrella of pseudoscience,” says Danelt. Although scientists codify specific behaviors to better understand communication in different contexts, Dellolt says these systems cannot be used to “decode”.

“People think that nonsense is good for just one thing: identifying who’s lying and who’s telling the truth. That’s not the case,” Danelt said. A 2020 study from Portsmouth University found that videotaped ferry crossings were responsible for identifying smugglers; While observers claim to have detected signs of nervousness, only 39.2 percent correctly identified the smugglers as “significantly below the level of opportunity.”

In her September 2020 video about Amber Hard, Portenia herself responds to the actress’ testimony, and she smiles, smiles, and rubs her face in disbelief before claiming that eating her food and looks unpleasant “is not a good indicator for Amber being a victim. It is her abuser. That’s a very good indicator. ” In the background, Portania stands by the statements made in the video but says he “probably spoke a little louder” and would be “a little softer” if he were to make such a video now. Perhaps surprisingly, he agrees with Daniel about the dangers of pseudo-scientific analysis.

“On the Internet, it’s very easy to claim right now that you know things, and there’s no one to resist … that’s something that definitely worries me,” he said. Portenier’s knowledge of body language was largely self-taught, although he also took some psychology classes at university. He says he has been studying the subject for over a decade, devouring the work of former FBI agent Joe Navarro (who also made multiple videos with Wired). Portenia psychologist Paul Ekman also studied the work on micro-expression, a facial expression that lasts for a fraction of a second and is difficult to conceal. (In Ekman’s own confession, micro-expressions expressing secret emotions are not uncommon, and academics feel that he has experimentally demonstrated that micro-expressions did not reveal data that could be used to detect falsehoods.)

Bruce Durham, 41, of Newcastle, England, who made a video of Oprah showing Megan Merkel “lying” at the “moment”, is also self-taught. Durham says he has been working in performance coaching for more than 20 years. “I’ve been sitting in front of people for thousands of hours and letting them talk,” Durham said. “When you spend a lot of time looking at people and you practice your observation skills, you can quickly develop trends and analysis, you get to the point.” His channel, Bruce believes, Has only less than 200,000 subscribers

Both Portenier and Durham insist they are not leading experts in their field, and both say they try to communicate the limitations of what they do to the audience. “A lot of people find out who’s lying and who’s not, but you can never tell. All you can do is fall into these two categories, looking comfortable and uncomfortable, “claims Durham (Merkel’s analysis is combined with clips of Pinocchio’s nose in a Disney 1940 film). Durham says identifying when someone looks uncomfortable provides a jumping-off point for asking more questions and is not a conclusion in itself, but acknowledges that he makes his video thumbnails and captions more “stimulating” to get clicks. Still, he argues: “I always start or end my video, ‘You have to be fair and balanced.’ And I always say that more than once. “

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