Transcript: Decoding Human Behavior

This is a raw, unedited transcript of the Dot Dot Dot Conversation “Decoding Human Behavior.”
You can listen to the full recording here.

Laurie Segall  03:01 

Well I want to thank everyone for joining Dot Dot Dot Media. We do these conversations every Tuesday and they’re always, I think, fascinating. We talked about the intersection of technology and humanity. Tonight we’re talking about decoding human behavior, which it sounds kind of broad, but I think once we kind of dig into who you guys are, it’s going to be fascinating. And maybe terrifying, but I want to go with fascinating. So Joe, maybe I’ll start with you.

Laurie Segall 03:16

And Chris I’ve interviewed you many times, so I’m going to rely on you as kind of my crutch here. But, Joe, I’m going to start with you. You’re a former FBI agent and the leading expert on nonverbal communication.

Joe Navarro  03:21 

That’s what my mother thinks, which is really it.

Laurie Segall 03:26

So I was doing a little reading on you, it is terrifyingly interesting. You were the FBI’s top body language expert during the Cold War. Correct me. I don’t know what you learn about people at the time and body language as the top expert in body language during the Cold War.

Joe Navarro  03:38

Well, one of the great things about the Bureau was that the unit that I was in, which was the behavioral analysis program, allowed us to indulge our interest. We were taught by the great Gavin. We were taught by Paul Ekman, David Givens, Judee Burgoon, all the experts on body language but we then also got to be in the grade lab laboratory of life, which is when you’re out there conducting investigations. You get to, there’s nothing like sitting in front of a psychopath. And you’re close enough to smell them to observe all their behaviors or a terrorist or a Soviet spy, or a matero independence terrorist or a victim of a crime. You learned so much, that no laboratory can can give you and, you know. The advantage, I think, I brought to the table was that I had been studying body language, way before I entered the bureau. And then, once in the bureau it just sharpen my skill set. Then after I retired, it just continued and I had the opportunity to continue studying, hang out with people like Chris and who see the world from a different perspective. So that’s, that’s how I got involved and that’s what I brought to the table is those unique experiences that most researchers don’t get to have.

Laurie Segall  05:13

I want to talk about how you met Chris, and because we don’t know each other personally, but I know Chris. For folks in the room, I met Chris at a hacker conference in Las Vegas. He’s he’s one of the top human hackers, the social engineering hackers. So that means he can kind of talk you into doing just about anything but he does it for good right. How do I say this in like a nice way? We went to Black Hat and DEF CON, which is, you know this is a very popular conference for for hackers security researchers. Chris’s like a celebrity there. There’s like this whole underground community of hackers and you probably can’t even walk anywhere without people stopping to want to shake his hands. It was really fascinating to see because of who he was.

So I’m so curious to know how, like the top human hacker in the United States meets with the top, you know, body language, analysts and the former FBI agent. Because I feel like that in of itself must be a great story. And I really would not want to be in a room with you that seems like a recipe for disaster. But I will say here, you talk about sitting in front of a psychopath or sitting in front of a spy or a Karass. I always say, from my journalism background, I’m part time with 60 I was at CNN for many many years, and we love specifics. Can you take us to the room? Take us to the interrogation room.

Can you give us one specific person that really stood out to you and, and what that told you about body language and anything that just when you close your eyes at night you still think about?

Joe Navarro  07:00

Oh, well, thanks. Thanks for that, you know, one of the cases that really startled me was when we talk about psychopaths and we study about human behavior. We’re so engrossed in what’s normal, that when the abnormal sits in front of us it can really rock you. It can really, as they say in poker, put you on tilt. I was interviewing this psychopath and he had put bombs in different places and that was his thing. And what got to me was, his body language was, and the only way to describe and those of you who follow me in Psychology Today, know that I’ve used this term before, is they have this reptilian indifference. They’re like reptiles, nothing seems to faze them. They’re not troubled. Their heart rate literally does not go up. You know, saying that “Hey, you’re gonna go to jail and stuff like that.” “Yeah, whatever.” Their blink rate doesn’t go up. And in I found myself affected by their body language, and I found myself my knees buckling and realizing this guy just put me on tilt. Now he’s in charge, and I have to back away from it. And, and you learn things like that, you learn things like that that you know, like with Chris, you know, you look at Chris’s life and career or and that deals with, with corporations and and with Chris. He goes in there, and he’s confronted by a different human each time and he has to figure out in a matter of a few seconds and Chris maybe you can talk about that is, how do I get into this person’s head to in essence cooperate with you. That’s what I find fascinating.

Laurie Segall  09:18

Yeah, and Chris maybe you can tell us a little bit, I’m obviously really familiar with your work, but in the same way that Joe said, in these interrogation rooms with folks, you are in, I would say a different type of interrogation room right you tackle people on the dark web, and sometimes you have human hacked over the phone, you do all sorts of stuff for the greater good, you fight child predators. So tell us a little bit about what it is that you do.

Chris Hadnagy  09:49

Sure, so my day job is getting hired by companies to.. I don’t know. It’s like no really non bad way of saying this because I always sound so so bad but it’s more like a medical field. But we get paid to basically audit companies which means we break into them both digitally and physically. And we tell them how we did it so that way they can fix any of the holes before an actual real bad guy does the same thing. So we’re..

Laurie Segall  10:19

You physically break in, you’ve physically broken into companies before.

Chris Hadnagy  10:23

Yeah, yeah. Most of our clients are healthcare banks, government organizations. So we get paid to go to their actual locations, wherever they are, and then physically breach their facilities both in broad daylight and also in the middle of the night.

Laurie Segall  10:38

For folks listening, so this is all for security. To show that there could be a flaw in security. You’re not actually breaking in to do terrible things to them. But, and I’m assuming so just you know.

Chris Hadnagy  11:23

Good question so that works for me. So, we use it, which I do that all the time. And, you know, for us, it’s like looking at the research that people like Joe and Dr. Ekman and others have done and then, and they did it for much different reasons. But then we get to look at that and say okay well, Joe found that this type of body language, you know may mean someone is either daydreaming or they’re not really present, mentally, they’re not really thinking critically thinking. So we look for those things we practice, watching those things in the public. We practice seeing those on just people in everyday life. And that way when I’m now entering a building, you have like that muscle memory, where you see somebody taking a certain action or standing a certain way or looking a certain way and you go okay I know what that means. And you can quickly assess who would be the best target. And you know, when we do our research into like great cons of the past, you know people like Victor Lustig. He was one of the best con man ever in the history that I say best I mean he was as successful, but it was a really bad guy. He’s stolen from lots and lots of people by convincing them that he was going to sell the Eiffel Tower. And then he got people with part with their money, and he looked for marks. He looked for people and it wasn’t just how much money they had but it was, and he might not understand the science but he was looking for people who had that right facial expression that body language, the people that looked friendly that looked like they would be willing to take that risk and he noticed those things. And later on in his life when he was interviewed he talked about picking his marks by looking for people who had a certain look in their face that made him feel like “Yep, I can get them to trust me.” So, body language and facial expressions are very useful in, in determining who may fall for these things. And then of course there’s still the aspect of having to go do it. You know, it doesn’t mean just because you see it that it’s going to 100% work but it gives us a leg up when we’re doing work. 

Laurie Segall  13:22

Any, kind of.. 

Anne-Maartje Oud  13:22

Helps us what we’re doing.

Laurie Segall  13:24

Yeah and Anne I also want to get to, because you do something similar in a bit of a different context. Before we get to impersonate any crazy stories from from any break ins that we should know about any. What is the most interesting one that you can think of.

Chris Hadnagy  13:43

I can tell you this one I was breaking into a government facility. And we had, because it was a government facility, we had some fake IDs made because we had expected that there was a couple times that we were going to probably get caught during the week because it was a fully armed facility. And in this particular one, we have, you can’t even plan this like you can’t make this stuff up. You can’t plan that this stuff is gonna happen. But we go into this facility, and I go into the guard station with Ryan, and the guard isn’t there he’s out inspecting a car. So we just walked through the metal detector and walk right into the facility. The door was unlocked, but soon as I enter, I don’t know there was like 20, or 30, cops like state troopers just standing there. And I’m like this is not going the way I wanted to, so we quickly turn around and go back into the guard station with the perfect timing the guard comes in. Just then he goes hey what do you guys do on this oh we’re here to do some photography for the groundbreaking ceremony. And he’s like, You got to go get your badge, and I said okay, man. Hey, what’s your name, he said like Tony, so I go in there and to the badge place and I go, Hey, Tony sent us in they get the badges and he’s like okay, no problem. Give me your ID so we gave him our fake IDs, and the guys writing up our badges, and they’re you know, they’re like we’re, you know, where do you hear from and I give them a business card. Now of course this is all fake, you know, we had this all made. We picked a local paper out that we could make believe we worked for so it was a real newspaper. And if I had fake business cards we bought a phone number in the state that we were in so I had that ring to one of my employees who can be my you know my publisher and me she she needed to be there, the editor of the newspaper. And we’re getting our IDs and this one of the guards behind the counter and this is the part you can’t plan. His cousin is the editor we just said that we work for this texture and he’s like, Hey coincidence, your photographers are here that’s cool. And she replies back what photographers. He and I don’t know any of this is happening right so he rounds the corner snaps a picture of us and sends it to her. And she goes, I have no clue who they are. So he comes out and he takes a picture of her IDs and sends it to her and she goes, they don’t work for me. Next thing I know was we’re pinned to the ground and there’s a gun, the automatic weapons pointed at us and they’re just screaming, you on the ground. Totally didn’t see that one, you know, Joe didn’t teach me that body language one, you know,

Joe Navarro  16:29

Like, like could I like I could have foreseen that

Chris Hadnagy  16:34

That’s, it’s a failed story but I think it’s a great one because it shows that, you know, you can plan everything perfect, but then sometimes, like you can’t make that stuff up like this happens to be his cousin, the one that we said we work for, Out of all the newspapers in town we pick the one that she happens to work for, you know, we did.

Laurie Segall  16:54

And that’s great and and you’re the CEO and founder of the behavior company and so you as you said earlier you’re based in Amsterdam, tell us a little bit about what it is that, that you do and how it relates to these guys.

Anne-Maartje Oud  17:11

Yeah, it’s not as terrifying, what I do as those guys you would say, but it is, its business focus so it’s exactly the same we observe we help companies to create awareness about their behavior so do they understand what is going on in their company, are they able to observe, are they able to change their behavior more effectively towards their goals, and body language is a very important part of it so we, we help people to become more aware and to align that behavior for more effective communication.

Laurie Segall  17:49

Right and you know it’s interesting that we all all of you guys, you know, really kind of talk about how, you know how to read people, whether it’s in person but now we’re all to degree we’re all digital, especially with working from home and whatnot so I’d be curious to know, I mean, and we can start with you mean how do you do you talk a little bit about how we establish feeling of camaraderie and Slack channels or on Zoom calls or Joe and anyone can weigh in here like, how does this especially as someone who analyzes, you know, our visual body cues and how we appear trustworthy or not trustworthy, what can we do on Zoom to appear more trustworthy. Is this a thing, like how do these things translate online. The work you guys have done offline.

Anne-Maartje Oud  18:38

Yeah, I think when we, when we all started to be more online and we have these fantastic examples of how people were not aware of the fact. So, you know, we had backgrounds laying down instead of presenting yourself in the right way, I think a lot of people had to realize that even when it’s online, you do show a certain behavior that people pick up on and will will judge you for it or will at least see a certain effect. And a lot of people, for instance in businesses that I taught, they really had to learn like, oh how do I conduct meetings online or as a manager, how do I work with remote teams.

Laurie Segall  19:20

Right, so what do you do, I mean, so So, Joe or Chris like how in the digital world, as someone who reads if people are not trustworthy, how do you appear more trustworthy on a zoom call like what would be your advice to folks who, you know don’t want to appear, you know it is funny, I was talking with someone the other day about how they, they met someone in person, and they were like God this person was so much better than they are zoom on Zoom they always seem so sketchy. I was thinking to myself, I was like God like, what a terrible thing for that person that they come across so sketchy on Zoom, but in real life like they come across really trustworthy like, what are they doing wrong, like what do you guys think people can do. You know, on, on these digital mediums like zoom, what are the tells that we have to see if people are trustworthy?

Joe Navarro  20:12

Fix the world for us.

Laurie Segall  20:16

You guys know all this. What can people do?

Chris Hadnagy  20:18

So I tell you one of the, here’s a couple, a couple things and I’m sure Joe’s got more but here’s a couple things that I’ve noticed over the last two years that I’ve noticed about myself too and I’ve been working on, on fixing them. And a lot of zoom calls people, I’ve heard people say things like people seem sketchy because they’re distracted. Whereas if we were in person, you know, Laura, you and I get in person and we sit across from each other and we talk and we’re looking at each other and you can see the whole picture right I can see all of you and you can see all of me so you know I’m interested you know I’m coming. But I’ve had this one employee he has his webcam on his second monitor, but he is he keeps my picture on his purse monitor, so he’s never looking at his webcam and it always looks like he’s not paying attention, right, and it does throw me off right it throws me off because it looks like he’s not looking at me when he’s talking. So people get distracted and they start checking email or doing other things when they’re on Zoom calls which makes it appear like you just don’t really care about this conversation. The second thing is people, zoom in on their faces, right, and, and what I have found is by actually making a wider screen so you can see, like half of my chest up and making sure I keep my hand I think I learned this one from Joe, keeping my hands up. I’m actually doing it now and I’m on the phone, you can’t even see me. But my hands up in that chest area so you can see the gestures, makes it more like we would be in a real life conversation. And then, and then this one I learned from him looking into the camera, like when you are answering someone’s question I don’t need. I do this thing now on my Zoom where you can click the three little buttons and you can say hide itself, view, because I was reading this article about how we spend so much time looking at ourselves in the Zoom meetings, so I do the hide self view because you know what if you and I were in person, I can’t see myself anyway, so I don’t need to see myself on camera so I hide myself view so all I can see is the people I’m communicating with. I’m not distracted by whatever’s going on on my face or bad hair day or whatever. And now I’m looking at the camera undistracted, and you’re gonna feel a lot more connection with me even through a digital medium.

Anne-Maartje Oud  22:34

And one of the benefits if you look at others is also that you become more observant about their behavior, what are they showing what is non verbally going on. A lot of people are so busy looking, looking at themselves that they forget to observe others, which will give you great information if you focus on it.

Joe Navarro  22:51

You know Laurie one of the, one of the things that we learned from April of last year on was how we had been conditioned for the last 5060 years from television of production quality that we were used to seeing, for instance, whether it’s 60 minutes or Tom Brokaw or any number of newscasters and they were always well lit with makeup and their face was never more than 1/4 to 1/3 of the screen, right, and then all of a sudden, we all get on Zoom, and I can see into the narrow passages of the nose of people in front of me. They’re they’re too close, they’re not well lit, They don’t have makeup on. Yeah. And then, no wonder people complain about I have headaches, this is low production quality or around this, I’m distracted so, in fact, and was one of the first to champion this, Because a lot of companies that she deals with felt the immediate impact in Europe, because they can no longer travel to the United States. And that is that we have transition from a time when we do a presentation to one where if necessary and it’s important we have to do a performance, and that most of us weren’t prepared for that performances require rehearsal that we have to compress the time that we have to have the lighting just right to the point where, you know, the people I counsel those of you who are interested, you know, I tell them I wear makeup, and Chris knows this, he’s seen me putting it on at any event, so that they’re, you know my faces and shiny and so forth because these people are paying a lot of money, and they expect a high production quality. The companies that are providing that high production quality are the ones that are winning the ones that have just, you know, acquiesced to, to what they used to do, or not as successful because now people can just turn you off, they can go some somewhere else. The other thing is that, and every actor learns this that it for television gestures have to be slowed down a little bit. And so you’re as Chris says your hand gestures, we used to teach that if you’re in a senior leadership position, your gesture should be wide, but smooth. Right, so that’s that’s how generals behave corporals they’re jittery. But the camera video conference misses this so now we have to bring those gestures to within 27 inches. And so that means that they have to be almost in front of your face and just below. But you have to slow them down, and you know you’re talking about, you know, how do we establish trust and credibility and so forth. I deal with financial institutions that do 789 10 As many as 11, pre employment interviews. And one of the things that they always complain about is that the person they’re looking at is sitting too close that they want to see the hands that they want to see the, the, the gestures and and so forth. And so it’s a matter of getting people to come to this new realization that we have to up the, the stakes here, that we have to go from a mere presentation to what is in essence, is, is a performance, if only because we have been accustomed to, to that, and when we don’t deliver, then we see the effects of people just, you know, blocking us turning us off and not paying attention. One other thing that I would add, not to take anything away from, from Chris and Dan because I learned so much from them is, don’t forget to smile. Don’t forget to arch your eyebrows and greeting people and saying hello, and never hesitate to tilt your head slightly, which is a nonverbal, that says, I’m listening, I’m interested in what you have to say. And it encourages greater FaceTime.

Anne-Maartje Oud  27:43

Yeah and if I may add something to that because a lot of people forget this, that’s the background. I can tell you stories from CEOs who had lots of liquor in the background, or who showed funny pictures and they might be fine with all of that and it might not mean anything but people draw conclusions conclusions from it. And a lot of people. Yeah, make quick assumptions about it so I would always check your background before you go online.

Joe Navarro  28:13

Children, children are fine, dogs are fine cats are okay. Having a lot of liquor, a poster of Che Guevara contraindicated.

Laurie Segall  28:25

Do you have a book out that’s essentially. It’s called what everybody is saying and it’s essentially advice from FBI counterintelligence officer on how to speed read people and in it, and reading it, there’s some really interesting insights in it, like, why the face is the least likely place to gauge a person’s true feelings or I like this one with some feet and the eyelids reveal about moves. Let me see what it looks like the most powerful behaviors that reveal confidence and true sentiments are like these but just like these very strange, weird things that you wouldn’t normally think of when it comes to nonverbals. And the book is, you know, really kind of gets into some of your personal experience and how you gain these insights. So, I mean, like, Do you have any other specific examples you could give us that led you to some of these insights.

Joe Navarro  29:19

Yeah. So, you know, here’s one of the both Chris and Anne are are very familiar with the fact that our feet don’t have a social contract with each other. So, you know Laurie, if, if I see if I, if you see someone that, that maybe you don’t like too much, you might still smile at them because we have social contracts. But, you know for for us who deal with, with the nonverbals so that we can make great decisions, and I know Anne has has done this, you look at the feet because the, the finger the most honest part of the body that you know you might turn at the hips to greet somebody, but you know if your feet are turning away in the FBI, we call that a clue. You don’t like this person, because we only our feet only point to the people that we really, we really like, if we’re only rotating at the hips, that says that sends a powerful message, and, you know, for Chris who is assessing weaknesses and so forth and for an who’s looking at the dynamics of an institution and saying, Hey, this group is an in group and these people aren’t getting along, and you know they say hey you just got here. How do you know that look at their feet, look at the fact that, if you see two people talking to each other in the hallway and their feet are to look facing each other. And they may, they may both turn at the hips, and, and, and wave to you. But if those feet don’t move. You’re not welcome there. They don’t want you in that little group and that little dyad it’s only when their feet move into like a 45 degree angle, that, then you are welcome. And if you miss that, you know, and you, you know, go right up to them, you’re gonna get a lot of negative vibe, it’s like hey, don’t you see your feet and move. And it’s those little things so the feet are very authentic. But, you know also notice for instance, eyebrow arching right somebody comes into the room and you aren’t your eyebrows and you give them a big flash and it’s like hey how are you, versus, you know, there’s no eyebrow flash, and it’s like, hey how you doing this feeling is totally different and it’s something that you can pick up at a distance to very subtle behaviors, but if you don’t know, you know, people say, Oh, And she’s like the master of non verbals in Europe and Chris. Oh my god, this guy is scary, because they know what to look for if you know what to look for, right, you can you can decode the world around you in real time. And that’s the advantage is that you really understand the true sentiments of other people.

Laurie Segall  32:31

So, I was gonna say what is the most revealing part of the body when it comes to tell so you would you say that’s your feet. Well, it can,


it can the feet can certainly it’s one of those hidden ones. But there’s other parts of the body, for instance, a lot of times we think that, Oh, we’re waiting for the person to cry so we know that they’re they’re really hurting when in fact, anytime the chin, begins to vibrate or dimples. We know that they’re having negative emotions, watch, watch people when they’re confident, and you notice that the, the space between their fingers is is quite wide. But the minute they lack confidence, their fingers come together and in fact when we’re scared when we lack confidence, we tend to hide our thumbs. What’s interesting is if you watch a dog, they tend to tuck their ears in when they lack confidence, humans, we talk, our, our thumbs in and you say well what’s the significance of that. Well that’s what Chris is looking for when he sees a security guard that comes at you, and his fingers are together and he’s hiding his thumb. That’s the person he’s going to target. Why, because he likes confidence. The guy that’s coming at him with, you know like, you’ve probably I don’t know if you’ve ever noticed the Secret Service agents, their hands are always in the forward position, they’re, they’re usually either grabbing their lapel so it looks strong or their hands or fingertips are together but always high and in front. That’s, that’s, that’s like several orders of magnitude more powerful than some guy coming at you and he’s hiding his thumbs.

Laurie Segall  34:23

And that’s fascinating to think that like Chris, could be breaking into some place and he would target the guy who’s hiding. Such a small little detail that that you wouldn’t even think about right. That’s an interesting towel. I’m curious, I would love to ask all of you guys this question now that I got you all here because why not ask human hackers, this question. You know, I have covered technology my whole career and I have sat across from probably many or most tech founders, many of them in the hardest moments right and in times that they don’t want to be talking to me, I guess, for example, Mark Zuckerberg during the Cambridge analytical Scandal. Scandal when he spoke to me. I was at CNN at the time. And I remember going, you know, Mark and Cheryl hadn’t Joe Sandberg hadn’t been out there speaking and there was a lot of anger at the company. And, you know, and they needed to speak and I remember coming in, and we did the interview. I’m curious, for someone who interviews people for a living. What type of and it was a very tense interview as as many of my interviews with Mark in some of those in some of the more controversial moments have been, I’m curious what nonverbal tells, I should be looking for when it comes to interviewing people that you think are interesting and noteworthy, or when I or if people are lying, what do you think I should be looking for as a as a journalist or as a storyteller.

Joe Navarro  35:59

Is that open to everybody?

Laurie Segall  36:02

Oh yeah, that’s open to everyone.

Joe Navarro  36:03

Anne, you deal with that a lot, the deception in business.

Anne-Maartje Oud  36:09

Yeah, one of the things that I would say is self awareness. Because especially when you want to gain information and you really looking to get somebody to talk to you. I see a lot of managers, in this case are CEOs, that are so focused on gaining information that they kind of forced the other person and not creating comfort. Instead being silent a long time after your question and observe the other person, or just create some distance so don’t lean too much forward. Just give them a bit of space. So that, I think I would answer the question I’ll first start with yourself and give the other person room to to say something.

Joe Navarro  37:03


Anne-Maartje Oud  37:04

What would you say Chris?

Chris Hadnagy  37:06

I look for and this is hard to do, like live but I look for incongruencies. You know where people say one thing with their body but another thing with their words. And it shouldn’t be confused as that means they’re lying. It could be, nervousness, it could be self doubt, there could be a million reasons right so it’s not the why I look for the what, to see if someone is showing me discomfort. Like Joe’s example before, if I see a security guard or supposed to be a symbol of authority, but he has his hands deep in his pockets or he’s hiding his thumbs when he’s approaching me. Then I say this guy is lacking confidence, either in himself and his job. I don’t know what, the why. I don’t know why he’s feeling that way, but I know that, that’s the guy I’m going to target. So when I’m interviewing people or breaking in a place or even on the phone with somebody, I’m listening, or looking for things that, that could indicate an incongruency in their job, or who they say they are or what they say they know, and then that’s the part that I hope.

Joe Navarro  38:14

You know, Laurie, the things that I look for, I think everybody should look for as, as you’re asking a question and it’s a legitimate question. What I’m looking for is how are they reacting to that question, like with Mark Zuckerberg I remember in Congress, when he was struggling with any question that was asked of him. You see a lot of lip compression, but what was even more interesting was the entourage, that he brought with him, and they gave away even more information, because they were leaking out Oh man, that’s a horrible question and I couldn’t believe that this entourage was really betraying him in what were problematic answers, but there’s some things simple things to think about first of all, there is no single behavior indicative of deception, period, as Mark Frank, the authority on this says there is no Pinocchio effect. So let’s forget that. But as Chris said, The, you know and well as Anne said, we have to be mindful of our own nonverbals because we can intimidate people and cause psychological discomfort. So assuming that we’re not doing that, assuming that we’re just asking people, you know, a legitimate question, what I’m looking for are is any kind of facial distortion. So any lip compression. If I see shifting of the jaw, as they’re listening to the question or preparing to answer the question, if there’s lip biting, if there’s a person of the lips forward Person of the lips and then there’s dramatic pulling to the side, if there’s, if they go from, for instance, stroking their face as they’re listening to you and then you ask a hard question and now they scratch their face. These are all indicators of high discomfort now high discomfort is not the ception high discomfort, merely means that they’re bothered by what they just heard, or I’ll give you another one that a lot of reporters Miss, you ask them a question and before they answer they pull on their, their collar or their shirt to ventilate. If you have to ventilate to answer your question, there’s some issues there. You know, we know that skin changes at one to 50th of a second. So they’re already responding..

Laurie Segall  40:48

Joe, just to correct you, not all of us do know.

Joe Navarro  40:52

Sorry, sorry. 

Laurie Segall  40:56

Now we do know that Joe.

Joe Navarro  41:03

Buddy, you’re hurting me. You’re hurting me here. I just thought everybody grew up like I did studying humans and they have a lousy, they have a mediocre life. 

Chris Hadnagy  41:16

Now you know what I have to deal with. Not normal.

Anne-Maartje Oud  41:19

Thank you Laurie.

Laurie Segall  41:21

Go ahead, Joe.

Joe Navarro  41:23

This is funny because both, both Ann and Chris, call me at the weirdest hours and they go Hey Joe, yeah. You know, I saw this today, what does that mean it’s like Chris, you’re, you’re calling me. Zero Dark 30 And I know it’s seven o’clock. But why are you calling me, Don’t you know, no we don’t. You, so the ventilating the behaviors or the or the other one, you know, as they’re listening to you their, their, their head is canted or tilted and then it becomes a straight, or you ask a very pertinent question, you know, were you aware that blah, you know this and that and all of a sudden you see them reach and touch the, the, what’s called a suprasternal notch which is the neck dimple right at the bottom of the throat, and, and the biggest problem I see is in it both in in journalism and in law enforcement because a lot of people in law enforcement. Don’t follow up, is they failed to follow up, and they say, you know, if we see a and obviously you don’t always get that chance especially Laurie way when I used to, you know, follow your work, you get one chance. And, but when you see that behavior and you see that psychological discomfort, and you say wait a minute, why are we having all this discomfort for, you know, over a legitimate question. So and that’s why I’ve written all the, you know these these books, you know, you talked about what everybody is saying it had 180 behaviors the dictionary of body language had 410 and now. Be Exceptional has a module on how to how to observe. These are skill sets that we are not taught, and it’s and it’s unfortunate, because it helps us to understand others with clarity not so that we manipulate them not so that we can trick them so that we can fully decode them in real time and that’s the advantage of that.

Laurie Segall  43:48

It’s mean it’s interesting to hear you talk about it and it’s interesting I mean I think the one thing I’ve learned in interviewing people, my whole career. I remember someone saying this to me very early on. Just saying, don’t feel the silence, you know, and it was probably one of the best pieces of advice, I was ever given. And, you know, and I think it’s kind of easy, I think we always kind of want, especially you know hard tough interview and I’ve done hard tough interviews with folks. You want to save people I’ve always been very empathetic in my interview sometimes, depending on who I’m interviewing, you know, but, but sometimes there’s this uncomfortable silence when you ask someone a question, and it’s really uncomfortable to just sit there in that silence, and let it just be silent but but I’ve found that you get some of the best answers. If you’ve just let that, that if you don’t try to save somebody. And you just let them speak or you just, you know, you let them kind of weigh in and in some capacity and if you ask that follow up question Joe,

Joe Navarro  44:54

Good, good, good point. Years ago, you did an interview and I forget who it was now, but he is stereotypical of a male he kind of looked at you like, I can’t believe you are asking me this question. And I and I, you know, and I wondered I, but I do remember you just held your ground, you didn’t say anything. And it’s like, hey that ping pong ball is back in your court buddy.

Laurie Segall  45:23

Well, you know, it’s interesting because I do find in covering Silicon Valley my whole career and you talk to, I always joke I knew the minnows before they were sharks right. And I do find everyone has a different interview tactic. Right, I’ve never Jake Tapper in my interview tactics. I love Jake, we’re friendly, you know like, but I always find that if you, you sometimes don’t know that I’m being hard on you, even though I’m being very very hard on you. And I think that’s always been my tactic of not, you know, you can say whatever you want to me, and I come back at you with a pleasant voice and a very, you know, a certain demeanor. Yeah, and not in a way that I try to make it about me and I think for me that’s always worked really well in the type of reporting I do with people who generally to be quite honest, especially in the Silicon Valley world are generally my age, you know. And sometimes there can be arrogance and all these types of things so it’s you know it’s been interesting. And that doesn’t mean at certain points I’m not enraged, you know. I remember having Travis Kalanick the founder of Uber, at the time. You know I remember asking him about women’s safety in his in Ubers. This was when Uber was struggling with multiple attacks against women. When they were growing so quickly, as many Silicon Valley companies do, and they hadn’t quite figured out their issue was safety and protecting the passengers. And it was the same month that many people had been assaulted in Ubers and I asked him about it. I’ll never forget him looking at me during the interview and saying, “Laurie.” I remember looking back and being like “Travis,” and him saying like you know I didn’t think this was that kind of interview and I said well what kind of interview and he said one, you know gotcha interview and I said you know this company is worth more than, you know x y and z this is these are very fair questions you know and he almost walked off so sometimes, you know, sometimes you see, you know, but you see, Travis is no longer the CEO of Uber sometimes that hubris can, you know, speaks for itself, but you, you know it, it certainly, you know you have, I think it just depends. Right. But, yeah, we can be frustrating.

We have other folks up here and I want to make sure we get to them. Denise is here. I hear it’s your Clubhouse anniversary, so congrats!

Dennis Hamilton  47:49

It is thank you so much. This has been an incredible conversation.

Laurie Segall  47:54

Awesome. Well, we’re happy to have you up here you, I mean I gotta warn you, you’re on a stage, full of human behavior hackers, the best in the business so you’ve been warned. Do you have any questions, I do.

Dennis Hamilton  48:05

So, I’ve been listening and kind of taking some notes about all the different tells, and one thing that has struck me is, you know, we live in this in this country, especially if you’re in the United States where you have all these different cultures and races and backgrounds, how can you possibly differentiate cultural difference from like biological difference, are these consistent across all groups. How does culture play a part in how you are interpreting these behaviors, and is there room for kind of misinterpretation, going through that cultural net

Joe Navarro  48:42

Christ and Anne let me, let me answer it first and then you can jump in. The, the behaviors, that’s a great question by the way, Denise. Thank you. In fact, That’s a profound question. The, the way we tested, is I usually if I write about a behavior I go on I validated in at least seven other areas. Usually other countries, but the best way, The best way to test these behaviors is, if we see it with children that are born blind, so they’ve never seen these behaviors so for instance if Laurie says to me, Hey Joe, how about you come back tomorrow and we’ll talk again. And I’m more, I’m probably gonna put my fingers up to my eyes and I’m gonna cover my eyes and just kind of push, push there as we often see when somebody asks us to do something we don’t want to do. This is a universal behavior. We know this because children who are born blind, when they hear things they don’t like, they don’t cover their ears, they cover their eyes, and they’ve never seen. And there’s many behaviors that are driven by what is called the limbic system of the body of the brain so for instance if you hear a loud noise, you’re more likely to freeze, than to move. And the reason for that is large felines. We evolved to freeze anytime anything threatens us, because if you were to run it would initiate the chase trip bite sequence, so the freeze response is universal. Most of our behavior for instance if you like something, your pupils will dilate if you don’t, it will, it will constrict so the behaviors that I wrote about that I write about, are universal, and, and, obviously, there are behaviors that are cultural and you know maybe Chris and and and you can talk about it, you live in a in a in a different kind of culture but, but that’s how we do that. Yeah,

Anne-Maartje Oud  51:00

I think that’s so important what you helped us all with to see what is specifically wired in us as you say and what is coming from, you know, all these years of survival, you could say and how we, how we are wired so I work in different countries I work with international companies and knowing what are, what is specifically non verbal communication that we all have makes it very much visible, what could be a cultural behavior so for instance proximity sometimes we can see oh, when you work, you know more in the south, oh people have a different proximity than other countries. So, it is very helpful to understand yes culture is an important factor, but a lot of nonverbals, we can see with everybody.

Laurie Segall  51:55

I think we also have Acosta up here and you have a question for the group.

Acosta  52:01

I everybody, I’m just really honored to be pulled up to the stage, I’m actually beginning Christopher’s book and I have Joe’s book in my queue. So Lori and Caroline thank you for, for having me on. I’m every time I’m reading a book about human behavior. I, I can’t, I can’t help myself from going into the phenomenological aspect of things. And my question is, how often have you guys kind of gotten to the edge of where we understand human behavior, and kind of passing that threshold of the you know the weird, or the phenomenological right it’s like, you know, I was reading one book and they said that if you’re trailing somebody you don’t look at the person, you look at the person next to them or in front of them because they can almost sense that you’re looking at them, right, that there’s a fabric of communication that’s between all things that are from the same place of origin, that has some type of intelligence, or systemic information. So I’m curious to see, to have some questions like, when have you seen that. I guess phenomenon threshold or things that are unexplained in your guys’s work because it seems like you’re uncovering through insight that those hidden dynamics and that hidden information that lies just beneath the surface.

Chris Hadnagy  53:28

That’s a good one for you, Chris. I was gonna say I can take that one because. So, first of all, thank you. COSTA For, for having my book, I appreciate that very much, hopefully you’ll find it useful. One of the things that I found early on, and in my career is I didn’t stick to things that were always scientific, and then what ends up happening is I had to back trace and explain and it’s changed my methodology. So what I found later on is that when I stick to things that have been scientifically proven that doesn’t mean I don’t believe in anything that’s not scientifically proven, I’m just saying for my work. When I, when I stick to things that are backed by science, then do duplicatable. They’re teachable and we can use them as part of education. But if I if I can’t duplicate them scientifically, then somebody else comes to me and says, Hey, I want to learn this skill I want to use this to be a better communicator to be a better human better husband, father, mother, whatever, how do I do that, and I can’t teach you that because it’s not duplicatable. So it’s like well, if you get this feeling. When this happened, then it may mean this, so that doesn’t work for me. So my, my present stances, is I only use things that I can prove through scientific research that other people are proven through scientific research, because my goal. Now in this part of my life, is to is to help people use all these skills that I acquired to better their lives to, you know, like, Laurie said to use some of these things to fight the evil in the world to help people be better versions of themselves and to educate on that level, you have to have duplicatable process, and that can only be done through things that are proven through science,

Joe Navarro  55:26

if I may, and costs, thank you for that, for the question and for purchasing the books. A lot of times what we don’t seem to be able to acknowledge cognitively, is because the subconscious, and there’s nothing magical about the subconscious, your brain, the most complex thing in the universe is processing so much information that you don’t have to think about it, which explains why sometimes when I go and drive over to Chris’s house, I don’t know how I got to Orlando, but somehow I got there without paying attention. Your subconscious is processing so much information that you may not be able to attribute directly to what is it that I observe what is it that I sense, why do I get this feeling and so forth. I assure you that we evolved to process an extraordinary amount of information that saves us energy and time so that we can, so that we can think and and enjoy high level cognition. I you know there’s been times when I’ve been walking and I get the sense that I was being followed and sure enough I was in fact being followed. And you know I look back on those things and, and I think, was it something that I picked up that, that, That wasn’t there. I you know I always go with Gavin de Becker his book, The gift of fear, never failed to pay attention to your feelings and your sentiments, because we, we barely know how the subconscious works. We just know that it is exquisitely elegant. It’s exquisitely. So add, you know 2.4 million years ago we were Australopithecines. And now, you know, in 2021, we are Homo sapiens, and so it’s gotten us here, and it’s an extraordinary machine that processes information, but we barely, barely understand how the brain works.

Laurie Segall  57:53

I’m curious. We’re sitting here on clubhouse, you know, there’s, we have social audios on this this next iteration social media, to some degree and there’s clubhouse Twitter spaces Green Room, Facebook has its own version there’s so many more coming out. What do you think it is about audio apps and the human voice as people who look at these kind of verbal, nonverbal cues. Now, I know we’re talking verbal cues now but like what is it that people find so powerful. And as folks who kind of anticipate the best and the worst and folks what do you think we’re gonna have to look out for when it comes to deception on this medium.

Chris Hadnagy  58:32

Well I think that because one of the things that makes me nervous is the advance of deep fakes when it comes to vocal technology, they are making such huge advance. Advances in this technology now to, to be able to deep fake really anyone’s voice. So, you know, you think about that that one researcher who think he was responsible enough and did not release his code. But, you know, with the President’s permission, he made a video of President Obama and and showed how realistic it was and how it looked, and how he sounded and you could start a war with how good this technology is now. So, when we don’t have, you take away a whole medium where we’re not, we can’t now use visual cues to judge truth or not. Um, I’m gauging that you really are Laurie Segal just based on the previous conversations that you and I have had and you sound like her. Right, but I have no other proof of that.

Laurie Segall  59:36

Well the big reveal is that I’m a bot, I’m just kidding. I’m so great. I’m great, and, and I know, Damien we have you up on stage to Oh, to make sure we’ve got a wrap up soon but I want to make sure we get to you as well. I think you’re on mute. 

Damien Noble Andrews  59:58

Yeah, sorry about that. Yeah, just walking away from the kitchen and dishes and sounds. Hello everybody, Caroline, good to see you again. Laurie Nice to meet you and thanks for all the knowledge. I wrote Carolyn just a brief question when you guys were talking about. Zoom calls and presenting yourself. I have a long background fair amount of breath was moving furniture so for all the all the people analyzing my behavior. cardiovascular

Laurie Segall  1:00:31

Do you guys think he sounds trustworthy up here?

Chris Hadnagy  1:00:34

Sketchy I gotta say

Damien Noble Andrews  1:00:37

Pretty accurate. Pretty accurate assessment. Yeah, it’s, it’s funny all the different facets that go into right now, you become very aware of how you’re presenting yourself when you’re speaking to people that are even subconsciously analyzing so it’s kind of, kind of fun. Anyway I wrote Caroline, just about my background is 20 years of as a photographer, 15 of which is an advertising so we use a lot of the same techniques, just, you know, not for saving the world but for manipulating people into buying things. Luckily, professional no longer associated with on a regular basis. Happily, but as you’re talking about the Zoom call i One of the things that popped into my head is even by shifting the light from the left side of the camera to the right side of the camera. You can adjust how somebody subconsciously picks up on what type of person you are, if you’re trustworthy or if you’re mysterious if you’re approachable, or if you’re not, and I just didn’t know if that was something, you guys have information about or knowledge about or if it’s just a fun new topic, so back to you.

Joe Navarro  1:01:43

Yeah, that’s, it’s interesting because Damien thank you for the question as I’m listening to you, I was going to the question that Laurie was asking, and we can we can tell from your breathing rate that you were slightly stressed. You probably had your left hand on your hip arms akimbo, you can let me know later if I’m right or wrong. There was a little bit of lip compression going on. And

Damien Noble Andrews  1:02:15

The real question is what color was the dresser that I was just moving, because that’s, that’s the big one, well figure that one out don’t check it for K, well

Joe Navarro  1:02:22

Here’s, here’s, here’s what it’s interesting. Why do you have your heavy shoes still on but the dresser, but But I digress. 

Damien Noble Andrews  1:02:31

I feel the need to PTR barefoot picture I’m just saying, but it’s okay.

Joe Navarro  1:02:36

So, the. There is, for instance, You know, in the area of body language, nobody dominates it, it’s not owned by psychologists, it’s not owned by sociologists, it’s not owned by anthropologists, or ethologist everybody contributes to it and Damien I think you’re onto something here I think photographers, I think, artists, I think, actors have a lot to contribute to how we use body language, I certainly, you know, people say I’m, I’m an expert and I really, you know, I may know a little bit more than the average person but Christian, and then know just how much time I spend reading trying to, to catch up on, on so many things that I don’t know and I think you’re onto something there. We do know for instance from the research that the left side of our face tends to display negative emotions quicker and more author authoritatively then the right side of the face. We know that we have preferences for certain features, and if they’re highlighted. For instance, we know that if you have a more rounded oval shape, like Elvis Presley. You, you, you’re perceived as kinder and more approachable than say one where you’re chiseled in, and so forth, there’s, there’s, there’s all of that to be sure and certainly you can do some perception management right now Laurie there’s, there’s the trial that’s going on. Of the, the, the, the lady that was in charge of the, The, the biomed thing where the blonde could be examined. Yes, yeah, look at the perception management she used to do with the, the Apple LASC the black turtleneck and how she has been softened up for trial where now. There’s warmer colors and so perception management, certainly goes on and I mean when I wear a suit my shoulders aren’t as big as, as I, as I look, there’s padding perception management is something that, that goes on. But I, but I think if you understand the the subtle nuances, I’ll give you an example. If, if, if a if a if a the if an attorney, merely stands and just pulls down on their jacket and and praying printers themselves as a jury walks into the, into the trial. They will rate, that attorney having no conversation higher and see him as as more trustworthy than if the attorney had just sat there and written notes. Wow, that’s interesting. That’s how powerful nonverbals are. Wow, that the simple gesture that we reserve the preening behaviors for courtship are distilled at a distance as, hey, this guy thinks or this lady thing to work were important, and. And so, yes, there’s a non verbals is a huge field, and I would love to hear from, from, from more of you and say, you know from medicine, this is what we know from entertainment, this is, this is what we know and who, you know, for years, was, was, you know, coaching actors. You’ve got stories about this. Hmm.

Anne-Maartje Oud  1:06:31

Yeah and also what I really like about your question Damien it’s, it’s everything was we talked about earlier as to performance, and people have to be aware of it so it’s light its attire its accessories or what, you know, when people have a pen that is different, you can, the perception management, you can take it to a whole different level. So it’s a shame we cannot talk to everybody in this setting.

Damien Noble Andrews  1:06:59

Well if you. Sorry, I’ll just say real quick if you want. If you want a little breakdown of what your photographs are saying about you, at least on a subconscious response to how people perceive them, we can hop in the room and chat about that, some fun stuff.

Joe Navarro  1:07:15

Thank you Damian but my mother likes the one I have

Damien Noble Andrews  1:07:20

Good your, your lip from the right side are turned into it, your short lit which, you know emphasizes power, there’s lots of fun little, little things there too.

Joe Navarro  1:07:27

That’s wonderful. I’d love to learn more.

Anne-Maartje Oud  1:07:30

I’m looking at the pink accessory you’re holding in your hand. That’s pretty funny.

Laurie Segall  1:07:35

That kind of goes in, so one of my last questions. And I guess this is how does this apply even in the digital realm, and Chris I think I’ve definitely spoken to you about this but I became obsessed with this idea when I was at Santa and this was years ago. I interviewed a guy who did predictive data analytics to determine if something really bad is gonna happen, like a suicide bombing or something like that. And he had a pretty good track record of being able to tell if like, you know, something terrible is going to happen in an era by analyzing all the data and all these different sets of data in the area, and I remember it was him and his co founder and I was interviewing him thank God it was a taped interview. And I remember him looking at me during the interview and saying, oh, Laurie I analyzed all your data, and, and, you know his co founder term, you know, a special pale shade of white, and was horrified and I was like, you know, no, keep going. Tell me what do you mean you analyze my data and he said well I analyzed everything you said on Facebook and Twitter and Instagram and, you know, and been in public for eight, nine years. And I have some predictions and I, you know, I know a lot about you or whatever and I, and I was like okay well humor me, like, you know, what would you find, you know someone who does predictive data analysts for, you know for terrorist attacks and he looked at me and point blank, he said, You’re unhappy in your relationship and you’re growing and happy at your job. And, you know, this is never something I tweeted about something I would obviously, I would obviously post about or anything like that. And, and, you know, fast forward a year later I left that relationship and job. And so I thought it was really interesting that, and I called him up and I said, How’d you do it, and he said, You know, every word we we post the time of day we post the types of words we use all of these, these, this data is digital puzzle pieces that really creates this, you know, these tells on what and who we are, which I thought was really interesting kind of you know we talk about these nonverbal cues, but I think we also leave behind these digital clothes. You know, so I guess Chris and I know you’ve got to hop off so I don’t want to leave you much longer. My last question to you would be, how about like a modern day tarot card reading of your social media I mean between Jodi talking about being able to analyze photos and all these things would we be able to look at our, our digital footprint and say hey, so and so you’re growing unhappy in your relationship, you don’t even know it. Yeah, you’re falling into depression you don’t even know it, and might be able to look at our Slack messages and say hey you know what your ex, you’re pretty close to lose it leaving your job by the time, what you’re saying, you know, is that feasible.

Chris Hadnagy  1:10:14

I mean it’s what we do. Right, so I wouldn’t call it a tarot card reading but I mean it’s what one of the things we do for our clients is they’ll say to us analyze our social media, and then figure out an attack vector because what is an attacker going to do. They’re going to look at their social media, I think the FBI just issued a warning saying that over 86% of all Spearfish contain personal items from the target social media. So they’re looking at your Twitter, your LinkedIn your Facebook, your Instagram, your Tik Tok and they’re seeing what things you’re posting what has changed over X amount of time, and they’re developing a profile on you based on that. And then we’re deciding what things will, will get you interest or what things will trigger you. So, yeah, I think I think it’s very possible and it’s something that’s actually happening.

Anne-Maartje Oud  1:11:03

I think it was today in The Wall Street Journal that it says that Apple is working with technology, to see if they can help clients with depression, or, you know what, yeah, yeah so it’s it’s happening already.

Joe Navarro  1:11:20

Laurie thing for a minute about the things we front first or repeat. The, the, the words, you know, one of the things that we’re not taught is that every word has different weight. And that, in our speech pattern. You know, I look back in the early night, late. Yeah, early 90s I’ve worked the major case was struggling with depression and so forth. And I looked at the verbiage that I use then and it was so different than there were in my head got squared away with time. So I think, you know episodically you can you can see certain patterns and certain things but again, the human mind is the most complex thing in the world and in the aggregate, maybe there are some things that are predictive. But I think it’s very difficult to to really know what what any one person will do at, at any one time.

Laurie Segall  1:12:25

And, well, that’s fascinating and you guys thank you so much. We’ve gone over and Chris had to jump in, I want to be mindful of everyone’s time, so I appreciate you guys joining What a fascinating conversation. I’m, I’m, you are going to, I’m going to call you guys up when I need help on literally anything just hide your numbers and emails right now. I really appreciate it and thank you guys for listening and joining data dot and definitely join our club if you like this we’re gonna be back next week. Very different topic for tucking psychedelics and the future of sex and women’s desires, really interesting research coming out, and we’re going to be breaking a little bit of news on it so I’m really excited to chat with folks next week to Joe and and thank you so much and Chris, you’re not here at least I don’t think I’m never I just never know. You know he’s I feel like he’s always like somewhere in the back of like my computer so

Joe Navarro  1:13:21

Thank you Laurie. 

Anne-Maartje Oud  1:13:23

Thank you so much.

Laurie Segall  1:13:24

Thank you everyone and anyone who wants to see our previous conversations and we’re gonna have the transcript for this conversation on our website it’s dot And we’ll also have the audio. And you can preorder my book it’s called special characters, my adventures with text Titans and misfits and Joe, you have so many, you have multiple books out right if you want to just throw out a couple of them. I know folks who would be interested, I’m assuming.

Joe Navarro  1:13:52

Well, thank you. Yeah, just go to Joe Navarro dotnet, and you’ll see all my books there my latest is the exceptional the traits that all exceptional people share so enjoy.

Laurie Segall  1:14:07

Awesome. And where can folks find you.

Anne-Maartje Oud  1:14:10

You can also find me on LinkedIn, or Twitter. Oh, that would be great. Awesome. Great,

Laurie Segall  1:14:16

Thank you guys have a good night. Bye guys. 

Joe Navarro  1:14:19

Bye bye.