Sunday, February 22, 2009

What's in a Blink?

I will start this post off with a disclaimer.

Firstly, the stuff I'm about to discuss here is purely speculative in tone and of personal interest, in context. It shouldn't be taken as fact. After all, we're going to deal with body language, not solid proof.

So, here goes.

I recently watched a video on YouTube called "the Highgate Vampire" posted by a member named JaguarOFcomedy.

It features an excerpt from the "Vampires" episode of True Horror with Anthony Head which was originally broadcast on the Discovery Chanel, on November 17, 2004.

We are shown the Case of the Highgate Vampire, as relayed by Bishop
Manchester, Elizabeth Wojdyla (via an old recording) and, most importantly, her ex, Keith Maclean.

It is his testimony that captured my attention, for a very specific reason.

If we view the 3:41-3:48 mark, we hear him say, "I believe it was a vampire, yes. [blinks twice, pause] I don't have any doubt about that." [blinks twice]

Even prior to this pronouncement, we notice him blink several times over the course of his interview, at certain intervals of his account.

But, to get to the pronouncement at hand, it's not so much in what he says, but what he does. Which is why I've made a notation of his actions during the cited statements.

Why my interest?

Well, according to some studies, blinking at a certain rate (or a certain amount of times) while giving a verbal account, is an tell-tale sign of someone lying. You can read more about this manifestation of body language in "Nonverbal Signs of Lying" over at Truth About Deception.

I should stress that I'm not saying Maclean lied during his account, but, in context of the above article, and other similar studies, it certainly strikes me as an interesting gesture.

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