Body Language Expert Mark Bowden visits Fraud Busting. He’s been ranked the #1 body language expert in the world. He’ll discuss what we can all learn from The Muppets and he’ll dig into his Truth Plane system to reveal how you can use it to control and predict people’s responses. And you’ll learn why Lying is the most important social still you can have.
Traci Brown: Mark, thank you so much for coming on Fraud Busting! It’s really an honor to have you on the show.
Mark Bowden: It’s great. It’s great to be on a show called Fraud Busting! This is making me very, very nervous. I think I’ve got some kind of – what do you call it when you feel you might be guilty of something and you don’t know that you are, and you’re not? Hang on, why am I on Fraud Busting?
Traci Brown: I didn’t tell you what kind of show this was because we’re going to bust everything you’ve ever done today.
Mark Bowden: Right, right. I know you’ve been doing your research. I’m knuckled down for the interrogation. That’s it.
Traci Brown: Um-hum. Um-hum. Let’s talk about how we got connected because we’ve bounced around, I think, a lot through the years, and finally I met some of your pals on the behavior panel who are just fantastic, and then the global gurus list came out which is a top 30 list of experts in the world, in this case, body language experts. No one knows how they do their criteria. You came out number 1. I came out number 10. I’m like, who is this guy, and his really good TED Talk that he did? I’m like, I need to know him! So here we are.
Mark Bowden: Here we are.
Traci Brown: Yea, yea.
Mark Bowden: Yes, we don’t know how that ranking is done. I always say, if it’s in my favor, I think it’s done in a very legitimate way. If it’s not in my favor, then I’m really not sure that any attention should be paid to it. But I’ve been number 1 three times on that.
Traci Brown: Oh, I love that.
Mark Bowden: Yea, so I think it’s a very legitimate top 10.
Traci Brown: I’ve got to figure out how to move up, is what I need to do, so if you have any tips, I’m all ears.
Mark Bowden: As number 1, why would I tell you that?
Traci Brown: (Laughing).
Mark Bowden: Why would I ever do that? No. We’ll chat about that for sure.
Traci Brown: Oh yea. No. It’s all good. It’s all good. But you are, like I think for real, from the things I have seen put out there from you, like really classy body language expert, objective, not an agenda with any of your analysis that I’ve seen, excellent, excellent keynote speaker. Let’s talk about the things maybe that are harder to find about you. Let’s talk just quickly, what happened in 2003? Does that ring a bell for you?
Mark Bowden: Gosh. What happened in 2003? Probably so much. Help me. Where are you trying to go?
Traci Brown: When I say Nike commercial . . .
Mark Bowden: Oh yea, okay. Yea.
Traci Brown: Let’s talk about that.
Mark Bowden: Yea. As you say, in 2003, I’m taking your word for the date. It 2003 I was in a Nike commercial for the Super Bowl, so it was the Nike Super Bowl commercial, so pretty big in terms of a commercial. I don’t think you ever get any bigger than a Nike commercial for the Super Bowl. The idea for that was, it was called the Streaker. You can go and find it. Just google Nike Streaker, and I will come and I streak on a Millwall football pitch, a very well known football pitch in South London. I streak, and it was recorded, and it became a Nike commercial. I’ll say no more about that because you can go and watch it. But yea, the interesting thing for me was, it was about how do you reproduce that movement? What would a streaker look like if they were totally free, that being part of Nike’s brand, the idea of utter freedom, the idea of being a complete outsider from the group. So, we filmed it at a football pitch with thousands of fans there and seven outside broadcast cameras, football players, referees, over four days.
Traci Brown: Four days?!
Mark Bowden: Yea, four days, four days filming.
Traci Brown: Here’s the question everyone is going to want to know. Were you actually naked? Because they . . . No, really? You were?
Mark Bowden: Yea, I was absolutely naked, apart from the scarf and the sneakers. I didn’t even have any socks on. That can chafe a little bit if you’re running four days with no socks on, and they were tight shoes as well. The thing is, to make them look really neat, you need them a size too small, so they look kind of super neat and yea. So, running for four days in sneakers are a size too small for me, and a scarf, and that was it. We did play around with the idea of being covered up in some way so we did do a take where I was covered up, and they weren’t going to pixilate it. The area that you are maybe thinking of is pixilated in the final broadcast of it. We did do one where I think I had a paper plate with a smiley face kind of strung there as an idea, just in case the brand decided that they didn’t want to go with the pixilation, but it was very hard to run around for a day like that. In the end, it’s easier to run around totally naked in front of thousands of people, though it is slightly psychologically damaging. I did go into shock. After four days of it, I literally come home and went into shock. I sat in the bath and just started shaking.
Traci Brown: Really?
Mark Bowden: Yea. I went into shock. Yea. It was quite. . . not only was it super cold, it was super cold.
Traci Brown: Yea, it doesn’t look warm there at all.
Mark Bowden: It’s not warm. It’s England. It’s not warm. Even on a warm day, it’s cold in England. It’s damp. I was running for four days naked. I would run into the arms of a third assistant director who would have . . .
Traci Brown: A blanket?
Mark Bowden: A big jacket, like a ski jacket, full length ski jacket. I would run into that to stay warm. I had a masseur who would between takes try and get my limbs working again because it was four days of solid running. They were bringing different football teams, but I was the same person running each time, so it was hard, hard work.
Traci Brown: There was a lot of running. You were full field, up the stairs, down the stairs.
Mark Bowden: I’m telling you. It’s a football pitch. It’s a lot way, and I’m not necessarily an athlete, so it was a lot of running and the stunt guys who were playing the police. If you’ve seen the video, there’s an end, kind of, tackle where they . . .
Traci Brown: Yea, they do.
Mark Bowden: Just misses my feet, which is a great shot. It’s like just inches away that I escape the tackle of the police. Well, in order to get that shot, you have to do it time and time again and get the one time that you escape from it, so most of the time I was being bang, taken down, by a rugby playing . . .
Traci Brown: Oh my gosh.
Mark Bowden: . . . in a police. . . which . . . and the ground is hard. It really hurts.
Traci Brown: Oh my gosh.
Mark Bowden: It really hurts.
Traci Brown: How did you end up doing this? Was there a casting call? Did someone know you? What’s . . .
Mark Bowden: I was known in the entertainment world of theater, film, and TV, I was in that area of how to choreograph, how to help people, train people, and doing it myself in creating feelings from moving pictures. I was very inserted into what we called at the time visual theater and also some of that filming where you see Jim Henson’s creature shop, for example, where you have got full body puppets.
Traci Brown: Yea, the Muppets. Yea.
Mark Bowden: Yea, yea. Skin work, as we call it. So, I was very much inserted in that world, and I was obsessed with that world as a kid. I wrote my university dissertation on the Muppet Show.
Traci Brown: You did?!
Mark Bowden: Yea, yea.
Traci Brown: We’re going to talk . . . I’m putting that on the list.
Mark Bowden: Jim Henson was a massive influence on me, a huge influence. Jim Henson was an extraordinary person, not only just in what he created, on many levels of what Jim managed to create, the philosophy behind that, but also the scale. It was the scale, and I was obsessed with this. How do you get a sock, okay, how do you get a sock on your hand and so quick, because of the movement that you’re making, so quickly trigger somebody’s instinct, not only that it’s not a sock, and it’s a living animal of some sort, but that it has human emotions. Imagine if you could do that instantly, just stick a sock on your hand and move it in such a way that an audience would just go, well, that’s a frog, and he’s a frog that’s sad. He’s really sad, like I’m sad. Or it’s a frog that’s really happy, like I’m happy, or a frog that’s inquisitive, Jim could do that, and I was obsessed with that. What is it that you know about movement that can trigger my instinct instantly with that? That is really how I got into the nonverbal world. I was excited. I remember one particular instance. I was walking down the street and I just quickly like jumped almost into the road because there was some kind of – I thought it was a snake or something like that, or something anyway that was going to bite me, like down at my feet on the streets of London. I looked, and it was a paper bag blowing in the wind. Okay. But it triggered my fight or flight instinct, totally that movement in the corner of my eye of a paper bag blowing in the wind had created through serendipity the right rhythm in my peripheral vision in order to trigger my instinct of predator below.
Traci Brown: Oh wow.
Mark Bowden: What is that? How does that instinct work? What does it need to see to trigger predator below, predator above, friend in front, predator behind. What does it need? So, I started investigating, what is the movement, the rhythm, what is the need, what does the instinct need to see to get triggered with all these emotions and feelings? And that’s where I go, and so then I’d gone to Henson who was doing all of that, all of that, who understood that really, really well with Creature Shop and creating monsters, Monster Factory, and creating things to fall in love with, and things to be fearful of. So, I got into this whole kind of fear, approach and avoid response, and that’s really where a lot of my work comes from is what do you need to do in order to trigger another human being into the approach or avoid response?
Traci Brown: Right. Oh, I love that. I love that.
Mark Bowden: I am obsessed and fascinated.
Traci Brown: With the Muppets. Who knew? Who knew?
Mark Bowden: The Muppets. Yea.
Traci Brown: So anyway, you ended up being a streaker like from that, which was a pretty great gig.
Mark Bowden: Yea.
Traci Brown: Let’s talk about more of your current work. You always say in your . . . we can take this one or two ways because you always say like in your intros, you go, he’s worked with some of the leaders of the G7.
Mark Bowden: Yea, yea.
Traci Brown: Are you at liberty to say much about that?
Mark Bowden: No.
Traci Brown: Of course not. (Laughing).
Mark Bowden: (Laughing). I think I probably already would have. If I tell you a story about the streaking, and I’m obsessed with the Muppet Show, do you think if I could tell you the latest that I would just blurt it out? I think I probably would. So no. You can, look, if you go around the internet enough, you’ll probably, from some journalist articles, you can probably pick up some factual things that they’ve put down there. I’m not going to put those.
Traci Brown: Got it.
Mark Bowden: Those out there. That’s just not . . . All kinds of things would happen if I did, so I’m not going to do that. But it’s like most stuff, it’s not like the information isn’t out there. It is out there. It’s just you’ll have to find it. I am not going to deliver it to you.
Traci Brown: Got it. Got it. Okay, okay. Let’s talk about, because you’ve coined a system, the playing system or the truth playing. Let’s talk about that and how that can roll into like detection and go from there.
Mark Bowden: Yea. Okay. Here was the thing that originally I did that was unique, and that you can’t get anywhere else in any other literature around nonverbal communication until I published Winning Body Language, which was the first book I wrote. This was the Gesture Plane System which suggests that, it is a model that suggests that the horizontal height that yours are at as you’re speaking or as you’re performing any kind of behaviors has a truly fundamental effect on the way that you’re perceived in a predictable manner and the way that you start to perform yourself. It affects you and it affects other quite predictably. I codified that system. Now before that, nobody else in nonverbal communication had been thinking about that at all. I don’t know why. It seemed really obvious to me because the world that I worked in, but nobody else had really come across it. Just to kind of demonstrate that, if I pull away from the camera a little bit, and now I’m going to gesture to you, and as I’m speaking, I’m doing open palm gestures at exactly naval height. It does not really matter if I’m not open palm gestures. I could be doing any other kinds of signals or gestures, but the important thing is that your attention is being drawn to my stomach and to my naval area. My guess is that it is giving you a prediction about me and about the feeling and intention that I have around my words. Now, I’m going to bring my hands, the same kind of gesture, an open palm gesture, but they’re now up at chest height. What I want you to notice, and also listen to, is what has happened differently in my voice already.
Traci Brown: Yea, it’s gone up. Your pitch has gone up.
Mark Bowden: Yea, and that is universal across the planet. It doesn’t matter where you go. If you push people’s hands up, you’re going to see the pitch of their voice go up. Now, they can try and cause the pitch of their voice to drop, as I’m doing now, but it’s really hard work for their body to do that, and it becomes very incongruent, and I’m now having to fight the incongruency of it because that’s not the body works. As the hands get higher, the pitch of the voice gets higher. As the hands get lower, the pitch changes and your perception of me changes. The levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide in my bloodstream change, and that changes the endocrine system. Therefore, that’s going to change the way that my neurons are firing off right now. Again, this is predictable. Now, if I bring my hands up to mouth height, and by the way, belly height, naval height is what I coined as the Truth Plane, chest height is the Passion Plane, below the beltline is the Grotesque Plane, again that has a very specific, I’m now hanging my hands down in the Grotesque Plane.
Traci Brown: Sure.
Mark Bowden: You’ll notice a very different feeling from me if I allow my body to be open to the triggering system that happens there. You’ll notice a big difference. Imagine that I was somebody who naturally goes, most people do, naturally goes on to speak to an audience, and they hang their hands down by their side because they’re either in fight or flight or they feel relaxed for some reason. What do you think would happen if somebody like me just said, you’re not going to do that anymore. What you’re going to do is bring your hands up to naval height. I don’t mind what you’re saying and what else you’re doing, but everything you do is going to be from that Truth Plane there. Or I might say, at this point I want you to bring your hands up to the Passion Plane because I know exactly what that’s going to do to an audience. I know that they will mirror you and by mirroring you, their levels, and they will do it unconsciously, their levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide are going to change in their bloodstream, just as this is happening to you right now as you’re watching me. Because I can see it happening in your face right now.
Traci Brown: Laughing.
Mark Bowden: Quickly you start to mirror me. Then we would look at, how can we then control that audience? How can you then totally be in control of their mirror neuron system? And can even control their breathing around them. So you’ve got Grotesque, Truth Plane, Passion up at the chest, closure and disclosure around the mouth area, thoughts and different locations of thought, around the head area and what I call the ecstatic plane, which is anything above the head. Once you know that vocabulary, you can get very specific results out of an audience and get them to . . .
Traci Brown: Oh yea.
Mark Bowden: . . . make predictions about you and control their predictions, so that’s essentially what my book, Winning Body Language is about, is how to control the meaning of you in other people’s minds by using this Gesture Plane System and some other elements of that, some other frameworks that again I coined as well, the Table Frame, the Door Frame, the Wheel Plane. Basically, you can locate your body and your center of gravity to have a massive effect on the prediction system that other people have. There is my little breakdown of that, Traci.
Traci Brown: Oh, I love that. Okay. Let’s talk about how you are using this out there. Are you working on investigations a lot or are you working with sales teams more? Tell me about your clients. Do you have any stories you can share about how you have used this or how some of your clients have had some success?
Mark Bowden: Yea, sure. The main amount of my work is about how you show up as a communicator and how you influence and persuade and how you do that really economically. What are the simplest, most effective things you can do to get people to predict something about you and your content and therefore more likely be open to it? How do you trigger their theory of mind in a specific way? I use that with all kinds of clients, whether it’s entrepreneurs just with a new idea, whether it’s leaders of G7 who have to lead a whole public down a certain route that they want them to go, or convince other leaders in negotiations of ideas that they have.
Really, I would say the main amount of work that I do is in sales and leadership. How do you change other people’s behaviors by managing your own behavior? But your own behavior in a way that you understand the vocabulary involved, and you can paint with that vocabulary in a very predictive way. I am not talking an art that is kind of postmodern and like, hey, you know, I just do my thing, and they can take out of it what they want. No. This is, I know the result I am trying to get. I know I only have a certain amount of resource to get that on. I am going to pick some people to talk to, and I am going to take them to that result as quickly and effectively as I can. That is the world that I tend to work in, and I am now totally, exclusively at this point in time during COVID, during that via camera, and that’s a whole other world as well. How does this lens work when it comes to that Gesture Plane System and everything else?
Now, at the same time, just like you, I am fascinated with the idea of truth and lies. In fact, the last book that I wrote with Tracey Thomson is called Truth and Lies. I am fascinated with this ideal that we have around truth and the ideal that we have around lies. Truth, very good, lies, very bad, or bad to lie, pretty good to tell the truth. No, that’s not the complexity of the human world that we live in.
Traci Brown: Right.
Mark Bowden: And I would say lying is one of our most important social skills, as is telling the truth. The key is knowing which lies to tell and accept, because accepting a lie is a very important social skill, accepting the truth is a very important social skill. What you need to know to fit in with the group is which lies to tell and accept and which truth to tell and accept, because if you do it wrong you are not part of the group.
Traci Brown: Right. Okay. Let’s dig into that just a little bit because it’s going to change with every group that you’re in, right.
Mark Bowden: Sure! Of course.
Traci Brown: Lying is as old as humans, right. It’s also the reason we’re able to . . . well, detecting lies is one of the reasons we have been able to survive, I think, as a species. Is there a structure that you have for which lies to accept, which lies to tell? What is your thought on that?
Mark Bowden: Look, notice your bias there is detecting lies is why we’ve survived. Accepting lies is why we’ve survived as well, not just the moral bias that you . . .
Traci Brown: You’re right. Yea, okay.
Mark Bowden: That moral bias will be around the clients that you have. The clients that you have, my guess is are going, when certain people tell these certain lies, it damages us and our group, so we want you to go and find these liars. It damages. But does it damage everybody? No, it doesn’t damage everybody. There are a whole bunch of lies that I just don’t care about. That an organization goes, we want you to find this liar because they have been embezzling money and they’re lying about it. What’s that got to do with me? I don’t care. It only has something to do with me when it affects my group. I’m a social mammal. I’m not part of every group. I’m part of some, but not all groups. Some of those groups matter more. The ones that matter most to me, I will accept the lies, and I will detect some of the lies.
Traci Brown: Okay.
Mark Bowden: But it’s a balance of both. You’ve got to get the balance. If you go around, imagine somebody who is an exceptional lie detector in a group and they call out every lie that they hear, every one. How long do you think they stay in the group?
Traci Brown: It doesn’t last but a couple of minutes.
Mark Bowden: Sure. They’re done. They’re done.
Traci Brown: (Laughing).
Mark Bowden: They’re done because number one, they’re just annoying. It’s like, man, I’m just telling a story here. I know I exaggerated. I know that I embellished. But that’s part of telling a great story and engaging everybody. Why? Because we’re just having fun. We’re only having fun. We’re trying to make the day go by. If you don’t know the difference between a fun lie for the group, because a lie is a lie.
Traci Brown: Right.
Mark Bowden: I mean, if you look at St. Augustine’s treaties on lying, I think he goes through about 12 different types of lying, and for him all of them are bad, all of them, you’re going to hell.
Traci Brown: Right.
Mark Bowden: They’re just some you’re going to a worse part of hell.
Traci Brown: Oh, of course, because yea.
Mark Bowden: But they’re all bad. Well, St. Augustine, you are a monk, like you’re only living in a cloister, literally a cloistered environment, so you’re not having to deal with the complexity that we’re dealing with right now, the complexity, that you don’t even have a wife and kids.
Traci Brown: It’s easy to be enlightened when you’re living in a cave somewhere or whatever.
Mark Bowden: Sure. If you are sociopathic, it’s easy to be the most moral person in the room.
Traci Brown: Oh, that’s interesting. Okay. Alright.
Mark Bowden: Because if I’m sociopathic, like everybody else is a worm and an amoeba, and I’m the highest thing on the planet.
Traci Brown: Yea.
Mark Bowden: It’s easy. The more sociopathic environments I put myself in, the less socially complex they are, the more I think I’m in a godlike status of moral ability. People put these moral judgments around truth and lies, rather than really understanding the social complexity of that system. Look, back to your point, what’s my system for detecting a lie? The first system is, does it really matter? Like, who cares? Who cares? Because, and you know this as well as I do, Traci, if we’re really going to go in and detect a lie, it’s going to be expensive.
Traci Brown: Oh, yea.
Mark Bowden: The cost, yea.
Traci Brown: People ask me this all the time. They’re like, don’t you get tired out there? I’m like, no, because I’m either on or I am off. Here is my criteria. One, do I care? Two, am I on the clock? Who is paying the bill?
Mark Bowden: Right.
Traci Brown: Right. If both of those are no, then the answer is pff, don’t care.
Mark Bowden: You were talking earlier about the Behavior Panel, and we’re producing sometimes two hours of us chatting about truth and lies and lie detection and truth detection. You might go, why are you doing that then? Because we’re having fun together. Because what else are we going to do? Who else are we going to hang out with and do that kind of thing?
Traci Brown: Yea, you guys are fantastic. Let’s give you a little plug on that. Behavior Panel is on YouTube. It’s really the only place, I guess, that I’ve found the top law enforcement interrogators actually reviewing true crime in snippets, absolutely fantastic, totally top notch, love you guys! Make sure you tune in! But this is what you guys do anyway. You just decided to record it one day? How did it happen?
Mark Bowden: We just decided to record it one day. COVID hit and we’re like, nobody’s getting on a plane, so we’re free. We’ve all got more time. Let’s just hang out because we would chat individually with each other, like we’ve hung out and chatted. We’ve hung out and chat, and then eventually you go like we’re going here, why wouldn’t we just record that because other people might be interested. They might, or they might not. Either you’re listening to this and watching this right now, and you go, this is super interesting, or you’re already gone.
Traci Brown: (Laughing).
Mark Bowden: What is this nonsense? Anyway, we found that people were really interested in what we chatting about. We’re doing it because we’re detecting lies and truth because we think it’s fun and we like talking to each other. But if you wanted to engage us to do that on purpose, much like people engage you, we have to say to you, how important is this, is understanding the factual nature of this, the truth and the lies of this to you? Because it’s going to be work to do it, and that will cost you. The result that you get, the information that you get, is that valuable enough to you to get this work done? Sometimes people go, yea, I didn’t know it would be that much.
Traci Brown: Yea, I’ve had some . . .
Mark Bowden: And the result is not that valuable to you.
Traci Brown: I’ve had people, like from the Making a Murderer, I guess they have all kinds of clubs on Facebook and things like that, and they’ve reached out, can you do it? I’m like, don’t care. You want me to watch a whole series and tell you what I think? That is a lot of time, and because I don’t care, it’s going to be very expensive.
Mark Bowden: Right. Right. Exactly. Yea. And so you lay down the price and they go, yea, it’s not that valuable to us. But we’ve all had situations where you go, there is the cost, and people go, well, yea, that’s fine. Because the value of the information is so important, has such big ramifications.
Traci Brown: Oh yea. Get this. Okay, I did one, and you’ll get a kick out of this, because the politics. There was a case in a little town in New York, but it was getting nasty. One guy was trying to get the other guy out of office. He was running. He was like, we’ve got to prove that this guy is having an affair with this girl and all this.
Mark Bowden: Sure.
Traci Brown: He sends me the video. I do a professional opinion letter on it. Then, the radio station calls me, because somehow, they get a hold of it, and it was the radio station for the other guy, and they skewered me. It was so bad that I was like, okay, I’m done with radio and politics. I gave the guy like a good rate. It wasn’t that long of a video. I was like, never again! Never, ever.
Mark Bowden: Right.
Traci Brown: And the next time someone called me, a similar kind of situation, it was actually about a sheriff in Virginia who was running a sex-trafficking ring and they wanted some analysis, and they were going to do TV on it. I was like, I named this price that was so high, I was like, there is no way they were going to say yes, and they were like, oh yea, no problem.
Mark Bowden: Right. Then you see the value.
Traci Brown: Yea.
Mark Bowden: Yea.
Traci Brown: That’s what I started to do. My political price is very high now because I just don’t want to deal.
Mark Bowden: Yea. The knives, when they come, are from your team and in your back.
Traci Brown: Yea.
Mark Bowden: The knives are not . . . people look for the knives in front of them, they’re not there. That’s not were it’s coming from. As I tell my clients always, the moment you’re there for the photo opportunity or you’re there speaking, whoever your handler was, wherever they put you for that, look over your shoulder, okay. Whoever you trust most, who said, just stand there, okay, look over your shoulder, because when you get placed in a compromise, they’re the ones who are going to do it to you. I guarantee they’re the ones.
Traci Brown: Oh yea. Now, let’s talk about that. People, I’m sure, engage you from time to time on these kinds of cases. Have you ever been wrong? Have you ever looked back and gone, oooh, maybe I shouldn’t have said that? What’s your thought on . . . ?
Mark Bowden: I don’t think I’ve ever been wrong. Maybe I’m circumspect enough.
Traci Brown: That’s how I feel too.
Mark Bowden: To go, look, here’s what I think the opportunities are. Here is what I think. Because I’m trying to do critical thinking. That’s really what I’m doing. I’m not detecting . . . look, Truth and Lies is not a book on body language. It’s a book on critical thinking disguised as a book on body language.
Traci Brown: Oooh, I love it. Okay.
Mark Bowden: When Harper Collins came to us and said, will you write a book on reading body language? I was like, no. Because there is just so much good stuff out there. It’s like, you’ve got a book, Joe’s got books, good books. Like, there’s enough. There is enough out there. Actually, I have to say though, Scott Rouse has a great handbook at the moment, Understanding Body Language, which in my view has the best illustrations. Just take my word for it.
Traci Brown: Oh yea. Scott is fantastic. He’s been on the podcast. People can listen to his interview, and for sure, get the book. It is a good one.
Mark Bowden: Yea, yea, yea. Best illustrations. That’s one of the best books that has come along. When it came along this year, I kind of went, that’s useful, that’s useful. In my mind, I was going, how am I going to write a useful book on body language right now? So, I went back to them and said, I’m going to write a book on critical thinking disguised as a book on body language. It will have all the stuff you want in it, but what it’s really about is how you can think more carefully about everything in front of you and look at the predictability of what some of the possible outcomes are and then lay your bet. Because it’s a complex world. It’s not a simple world. Okay.
Have I ever been wrong? I think I’m probably circumspect enough that I haven’t been wrong, and the times I’ve been right, have been right enough that I have a bias.
Traci Brown: (Laughing).
Mark Bowden: I know that I have a bias. Know that I have a bias. Just to follow up on that one piece that we did on the Behavioral Panel, we were on the Dr. Phil show about it as well. The guy on that, that we interviewed and interrogated and gave feedback to and then a show on it as well, was arrested just maybe yesterday or the day before yesterday.
Traci Brown: Oh wow.
Mark Bowden: Which we predicted. Look, there is only way, if he continues like this, because he’s there going on – I’m doing nothing, I’m doing nothing. You know, nothing going on.
Traci Brown: Sure, you’re not. Yea. Right.
Mark Bowden: If this continues, there is only one way that this is going, and you’re getting arrested.
Traci Brown: (Laughing).
Mark Bowden: We just saw the film of him being walked out.
Traci Brown: Oh man.
Mark Bowden: Walked out of the house the other day.
Traci Brown: Let’s talk about this. Because the time that I think that I have been notably wrong . . .
Mark Bowden: Right.
Traci Brown: Is really lately with the Meghan Markle interview on Oprah. Here’s why I think I was wrong. Because I like Harry a lot and I like her a lot, and I think they’ve gotten a bad shake. I also think that, of course, there’s some truth in there somewhere with behavior and how things actually pan out. But here’s why because maybe I think I do probably a lot more pop culture of body language reads, probably than you. The state of reporting is so lazy out there, they will give me a headline and tell me to backfill it. The first time I said no, and the article went to someone else, and like I want to be in the media. The second time, the second time that this happened, I said, okay, and I just wrote whatever I wrote and sent it. It did not match the headline whatsoever, and they still printed it. So they’re just looking for click bait. So my heart goes out to them, I think, for that. I didn’t see, I watched that thing, I didn’t see one ounce of deception in the whole thing because I’m so for them that I actually had to go back through and talk about it with some people. My opinion is different now.
Mark Bowden: Yea.
Traci Brown: Just based on that, but at first, I couldn’t separate out, like I couldn’t be neutral going in. Do you have any tips for folks who are looking, watching people more closely, to create that non biased situation as much as possible? Knowing that we are human, and you can’t get rid of all of it.
Mark Bowden: Well, it’s actually what you said there, Traci. You are human, and you have a bias. Okay. If you’re telling me now that you don’t have a bias, okay, you’re lying, not only to me, but you’re most likely lying to yourself.
Traci Brown: To yourself. Yea, yea.
Mark Bowden: Because you can’t exist on this planet as a human being without having biases. I wake up every morning with a bias that gravity will still work. Now, I know that’s like a pretty good bet, but it’s still a bias. Now I’m only telling you that, because it’s a weird thing to tell you, just to let you know that your whole life is made up of bias.
Traci Brown: Right. Yea.
Mark Bowden: Essentially. Otherwise you would have to critically think everything, and your brain doesn’t have the capacity to critically think everything, so it makes snap judgments based on its bias. So even when you come to doing a piece of work around Meghan and Harry, you have a bias. One of the things you’ve got to do is go, before I even enter into this, let me be honest with myself, what is my bias and what do I think I’m most likely going to see? Then I would say, how can you be purposely agnostic, which is really hard to do, if I am agnostic on purpose around this, or if you don’t think you can manage that, make sure you write down and you consider the exact opposite of where your bias is and use “what if?” What if? These are all critical thinking methods. They’re not imaginary. It’s not like, it’s nice to do. It is a critical thinking method to go, I will be purposely agnostic, like I just don’t care. I need data. The agnostic around, for example, there being an all-encompassing deity, the agnostic isn’t saying there isn’t. They agnostic is just saying I need to see the evidence. If you give me the evidence, I will go, there is a God. If you give me the evidence there isn’t, I will go, there isn’t a God. The moment I don’t have a place to be because I don’t see the evidence of one or the other, okay, there is no evidence. That is agnosticism.
Traci Brown: Sure.
Mark Bowden: I need to enter into that, the agnostic, and go, okay, what is the evidence first of all? Well, that’s hard work. Now you’ve got to go, do I really want to do the work on this? Or would I prefer my bias? Because that’s okay. Nothing wrong with going, I’m super pro Meghan and Harry, here’s what I see. As pro Meghan and Harry, here is what I see. Because there will be plenty of other people going, you know, I purposely hate them.
Traci Brown: Oh yea.
Mark Bowden: Here’s what I see. There will be a balance somewhere, but your audience will either get what they wanted, they will either get the truth or the lies that they wanted.
Traci Brown: It’s true.
Mark Bowden: You will sing to your choir who will either love your tune, or not love your tune. They will accept the truth or the lies. Because we could say, hey, you know that you weren’t quite accurate around that, and you know deep down you were biased, and we could frame that as a lie. We could go yea, but your group bought the lie. Why wouldn’t they? Because your group liked Meghan and Harry as well. I don’t care one way or the other. They’re not my family. They’re not even – well they are my monarch from two countries that I belong to at the moment, but I don’t quite buy into that either too much. I’m relatively agnostic. I have some biases, and I could talk about those biases. But here’s the thing, I could put into words what my bias is because that brings it fully into my neocortex rather than sitting around my social mammalian limbic brain somewhere.
Traci Brown: Yea. Affecting things behind the scenes. That’s the whole thing. Okay. What else would people need to know in order to get their head around truth and lies and how they can detect them, or I guess, the importance of maybe even like not knowing is okay sometimes.
Mark Bowden: Yea. Not knowing is great because if you don’t know, and you can get yourself comfortable with that, you can ask other people. That’s really key. If you can get comfortable about going, I don’t know, I don’t know about this. We did a Behavior Panel just yesterday around Hunter Biden. What I saw in one of the images, I saw great indicators of truth telling, great indicators, like really nice and stacked up, like great indicators of truth telling. But I was open with the other guys, going here’s what I see, like that’s super stacked up of really good truth telling, and here is my worry. My worry is I’ve missed something really important here because this doesn’t fit in with everything else that we’ve been seeing. I was like, tell me what I’m missing. They were like, well, you haven’t taken this into account, and you’re not seeing this, and you’ve not seen this. Ah, yea. Okay. But it’s having the ability to go, here’s the information that I have. Here is what I’m making out of that at the moment. Now, help me. What is it I don’t know? That’s critical thinking.
Traci Brown: Oh yea.
Mark Bowden: Being able to go, give me more information. That’s what we do in intelligence, is we take all the information we can, and we put it together to come out with an idea, and then we test the idea to see whether it’s accurate. If it’s not accurate, we go back again, start looking at all the information, we come up with a new idea, and then we test the idea to see if it’s accurate. That way, we get closer and closer to the facts, to accuracy, I would say.
Traci Brown: Exactly. Oh, I love it. I love it. Okay, Mark, I tell you what, I don’t want to take up your whole day. So, how can people get a hold of you?
Mark Bowden: Yea. Easy. TruthPlane.com. Go to TruthPlane.com. You’ll find me there. LinkedIn with me as well, Mark Bowden, you’ll find me on LinkedIn, easy to find. Or just go to your friendly Google and put in the words “Mark Bowden” and up I will come. You’ll find me.
Traci Brown: Very good. Thank you so much, Mark! You are awesome.
Mark Bowden: Oh sure.