Cognitive Semiotics Seminar: The trickster´s way: Interference of the senses as a strategy for non-verbal deception (Carlos Hernán Guzmán Umaña, University of Tartu)
Carlos will present some of his ongoing research on the nature of (non-verbal) deception, for his PhD at the University of Tartu. So we will have a chance to discuss if it is indeed true that "you can lie with signs but not with signals", as we have proposed earlier. All are welcome, from 15:00 with cameras on!
Perception and senses allow living agents to get information from their environment that is required to comply with the conditions of situationality and attention required to make sense of their surroundings and respond in a meaningful way. However, different agents have evolved ways to intentionally or unintentionally provide false information to other agents to make them behave in ways that are beneficial to their own goals, and sometimes extremely prejudicial to the receivers of this misleading information. I will discuss the phenomenon of non-verbal deception by categorizing and analyzing the mechanics behind different forms of deception that do not require the use of structured languages. This kind of intentional deception requires the ability to create a mental model of other agents and understand them as capable of acquiring false beliefs. It also requires the use of some cognitive skills that allow the deceiving agent to observe, memorize, imitate and improvise codes and behaviours that will allow the effective communication of false information to other agents. Interference in the perception and senses of other agents lies at the core of deception, the usual aims are to generate some form of distraction that drives them away from some goal or even make them build a faulty model of some situation that should make them behave in an intended way favourable for the perpetrator. These interference techniques are analyzed based on material from military spycraft manuals and written memories of con artists that rely on different forms of non-verbal deception to accomplish their goals. Finally, I discuss systems of social codes that function in part as safeguards against this kind of deceptive attacks and the way how an embodied trickster agent manages to “hack” these codes for its own benefit.