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Chris Caruso


Rhetorical Analysis Essay


ENG 101

The Use of Persuasion in How to spot a liar

People often underestimate the power of lying. We know what lying is, but we are

continuously deceived by it. We often associate lying as a sin, but research says people lie

consistently throughout their lifetime. A professional Lie Detector named Pamela Meyer wrote a

book called Liespotting which gave insight on how the understand the concept of lying. In July

of 2011 she gave a TED-Talk presentation on how to spot a good liar. She tried to pinpoint

important weak spots in lairs and translate that to her audience. She uses her extensive

knowledge in Logos, Ethos, and Pathos to inform them of the signs of a lair in a creative way.

Meyer opens her presentation by pointing at an audience member and saying that the

person to their left and right is a liar. Then she says that the person sitting in your very seat is a

liar. She grabs her viewers attention by an effective us of Pathos by evoking a sense of fear that

they are surrounded by liars. Due to her using this strategy she was able to immediately engage

her audience to listen to her speak. She then addresses the topic in which she is presenting. She

states that she will show the audience research about how everyone is a liar, how to spot a liar,

and to truth-seek. She gave a fact that the more intelligent the species, larger the neocortex,

meaning people are more likely to be deceptive. She gave an example of his by using the story of

KoKo gorilla who was taught sign-language who had a little kitten. The gorilla tore a sink from
out of the wall, and tried to blame to act on the kitten. (05:35) Meyer states that we are hardwired

even from a young age to lie. Meyer proceeds to give an example of when she published her

book on lying she said no one would talk to her face to face due to her advanced knowledge in

lie detection. (01:00) the audience was amused by her comments and therefore more likely to be

engaged throughout her presentation. (04:22)

Meyer uses reliable facts and statistics to support her positions. She goes to share a

shocking statistic that 997 billion dollars of corporate fraud in the United States due to lyes and

deception.(02:33) She also states that trained lie spotters can get the truth 90 percent of the time.

While most people would get about 54 percent. Another statistic she presented is that you are

lied to 10 to 200 times a day. She uses shocking data to get her audience to think about what they

tend to overlook. Another effective example of her use of logos is when she shows the video of

the grieving mothers. One video had a mother was pretending to grieve for her children and the

second video had an actual grieving mother. When the lying mothers video is showing she

pinpoints to the views the signs of her deception. One was the contempt in her voice when she is

giving the details of the horrific event. Another example is her leaks a smiles when her story is

finished. Through this video the audience is given a real life example of Liespotting, and thus

given them a sense of interest in her presentation.

Meyer not only uses logos and pathos effectively. She uses ethos to further credit herself

in her presentation by the use of ethos. Her personal experiences make her seem knowledge

about her subject, and makes her chance of persuading the audience much higher. One example

of her using ethos to establish a connection to the audience is when she says that no one will talk

to her directly after publishing her book on lie spotting. She says this is due to people thinking

that she will be able to when they are lying to her in conversation. She says no one will go to
Starbucks with her anymore. Or would rather email her than see her face to face. This method of

persuasion helps the audience to develop a personal connection to the speaker, and therefore

more intrigued to listen on.(01:00) Meyer credits herself by giving multiple examples in her

presentation to engage the audience. Whenever Meyer gives an real life example the audience

reacts by laughing and applauding. One example is when she uses a clip from a statement that

Bill Clinton gave about having an affair with another woman.(07:30) The audience is amused by

this reference and clapped when it is over.(07:52) Her willingness to give a detailed analysis of

these examples makes her seem honest, and would give her viewers a sense that she has a vast

amount of knowledge about the message she is trying to convey.

Thus, through an effective use of logos, ethos, and pathos, Pamela Meyer was able to

successfully persuade the audience on the subject of how to spot a liar. She was able to connect

to her audience's emotions and keep them engaged throughout the presentation. She teaches her

audience different techniques to spot good lairs that are easy to translate. She also uses real life

statistics to deliver proof of her knowledge and makes her seem honest with her viewers. She

used her personal experiences, her career, and her novel to give the audience the impression that

she is a credible source and the presentation that she is about to give is honest and will teach you

something about liespotting. She effectively tries to teach her audience to learn how to spot a lie,

and try and seek the truth from the people around you.
Work Cited

Meyer, Pamela. Transcript of How to Spot a Liar. Pamela Meyer: How to Spot a Liar | TED

Talk Subtitles and Transcript | TED, TED, July 2011,