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Saturday, January 15, 2011

Julian Assange Blinks Too Much!!

Thanks to Paul Ekman, everybody now thinks they can tell who's lying and who's not. Apparently it's just plain obvious that Julian Assange is lying, because he blinks a lot. Someone even made a video about it.

Some other comments on blogs/discussion boards:
"Anyone notice Assange constantly blinking and even scratching his ears? Tell signs for lying perhaps?" and "By all means ... get your body language expert ... because he does blink excessively and looks like a liar and fraud. In my line of work, I question a lot of frauds and there are red flags all over this guy in what he says and how he says it."

Glory! Here's another opinion about the reason for the blinking:
"Watching his eyes blink frequently and seeing some of his facial twitches I get the feeling he was on the verge of tears. Maybe he didnt want his followers to see him break down and cry. He can dish it out but doesnt seem like he can take it."

My Assessment:


Eye blinking has been empirically linked to lying, but as far as I can tell this is only through anxiety (i.e. lying results in anxiety, which results in a higher rate of eye-blinking). Perhaps Julian is lying, and this is making him anxious, which results in higher rates of eye-blinking, but it could also be the case that he is just tense.

Higher rates of eye-blinking are also used as a non-invasive measure of CNS dopamine activity, so you could make the case that his levels of dopamine are either consistently high or abnormally variable. There are a number of disorders that could cause this, but all of them have other symptoms. Depressed people who are sleep deprived have higher rates of eye-blinking, and it is assumed that sleep deprivation elevates their dopamine levels, and that this is how sleep deprivation works as an antidepressant. I read somewhere that JA was at one time hospitalized for depression, and it's possible that he may stiff suffer from bouts of depression or dysthymia. We also know that he takes very little sleep. It may be the case that he blinks a lot because he's a depressed person who is sleep deprived.

Related to the above, he could also be taking a lot of cocaine and/or drinking a ton of Red Bull, which would effectively increase dopaminergic activity in his CNS, thereby resulting a high rate of eye-blinking, but I doubt he would appear so calm if this were the case.

And, of course, his eyes might just be dry. The function of eye-blinking is to spread tears over the cornea, so dry eyes make you blink a lot. There are quite a number of environmental and medical conditions that can cause dry eyes.

Summing up: Dude could be anxious, depressed and sleep deprived, addicted to coke and/or energy drinks, or suffering from a medical condition that causes dry eyes. It's certainly not as simple as "he blinks a lot, therefore he lies". In any case, everything he has said is independently verifiable, so instead of wasting time slowing down videos of him to count the eye blinks, maybe people could spend that time evaluating his claims by doing a little reading.

Let's look at Julian Assange's soulful grey eyes for some clues:

He can lie to me all he wants.

1 comment:

  1. I blink a lot since I spend more time with my computer - nothing serious!!