Why do people ask bait questions

"You don't even have to lie well"

duz: Mr. Nasher, you assume that we are constantly being lied to in negotiations.

Nasher: Many interlocutors may not lie directly, but they don't say everything, don't inform their counterpart about the alternatives that would be possible in addition to their offer. The professor hides the fact that he is talking to another university, which, however, wants to give even less staff and money than this one. The rector does not inform the professor that the financing is on shaky ground. Everyone thinks that if they play with open cards, they can get less out of it. And play poker.

duz: You say it can be expensive to get on the other hand.

Nasher: If you don't see through the fact that someone is just trying to drive up the price, you usually pay more than is appropriate or necessary.

duz: But isn't playing with the truth part of trading?

Nasher: It's normal to lie. But you have to call it by name. When my English is not really business fluent, but I'll tell you. Or: If I declare that I know my way around game theory, but actually have little idea about it, then that's a lie.

duz: And how do you expose that now?

Nasher: How did you feel about your last lie? Usually this is fear and guilt. And you can quickly identify both feelings in your counterpart if there is no reason - except for the lie - for such a reaction. Actually, you just have to listen to your intuition. But there are also very clear signs of this. When fearful, the eyes widen, the corners of the mouth pull back, the pitch of the voice rises, you start to stutter, repeat yourself. Feelings of guilt, in turn, are associated with a guilty conscience and with wanting to distance oneself from an act. It looks so similar to being sad: the eyes look into space, the corners of the mouth go down.

duz: I can use this knowledge well to lie better.

Nasher: Right. But usually I don't even have to lie well. We humans are not good at exposing falsehoods anyway. Men are often not sensitive enough, women too accommodating.

duz: What special questioning techniques do you recommend?

Nasher: Professional interrogators from the police and secret services use so-called bait questions in interrogations: They trick their counterparts into knowing something that they do not even know. If the rector alludes to being well acquainted with the chancellor of the university, which presented the professor with the supposedly excellent offer, he unsettles his counterpart - who then tends to come out with language.

Marion Koch asked the questions.