Today is Election Day, and as a model but mentally overloaded citizen, you've learned to deal with the constant barrage of campaign ads...

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Today is Election Day, and as a model but mentally overloaded citizen, you’ve learned to deal with the constant barrage of campaign ads by dismissing most of them as outright lies.

OK, that might be overstating it, but if you’re a politician, it’s hard anymore to escape public suspicion that somewhere along your traipse to political success, you’re going to turn into a big, fat fibber.

“Usually what I do is listen to what they say, and then what their opponent says, because to me they’re both lying,” says Renton’s Leeah Brown. “They’re gonna hold things back.”

People are becoming wise to the ways of the liar. The old joke goes that you can tell that politicians are lying when their lips are moving, but thanks to new technology being developed at San Diego-based No Lie MRI, that’s not entirely accurate anymore. Now it may turn out politicians are lying even when they’re thinking.

The fMRI scanner, which would appear to be to the polygraph what IBM’s Deep Blue supercomputer is to a battery-operated, handheld chess game, measures central nervous system activity to capture evidence of, as Wired magazine described it, “neurological evidence of the decision to lie.”

Read your lips? Now we can read your mind. Maybe you’re not a crook. But we’re going to be the judge.

Of course, not everyone can afford such pricey weapons of mass detection, and consider what a hassle it would be to actually hook a politician up to one of those things anyway. Thankfully, author Conner O’Seanery has just published “You Won’t Get Fooled Again: More Than 101 Ways to Bust Any Bald Faced-Liar,” which describes the verbal and physical cues he says can tip you off to liars political and otherwise.

Is it too good to be true? Well … it depends on what the meaning of “is” is. But stuttering, stammering, grunting and other guttural noises are possible signs of a liar, O’Seanery says, and beware Mr. Smooth Talker or the candidate who doesn’t make eye contact.

In addition, O’Seanery writes, “a liar tends to make judicious use of namsy-pamsy qualifiers such as ‘however,’ ‘sometimes’ and ‘generally,’ stitching his fast-and-loose excuses with this limp, verbal pasta.”

Lynnwood’s Debbie Cartwright agrees that politicians’ lack of eye contact can be a bad sign, but then again, “They’re also adept at making sure they do make eye contact. They’re politicians. That’s what they do.”

Seattle retiree Richard Davidson thinks going by facial expressions might be too judgmental, but quick fixes for big problems are always suspect, he says. And when he did hiring as a field manager for AT&T, he admits his eyebrows would rise if candidates began talking faster when answering a question such as, “Have you ever been fired from a job?”

Lying takes effort, O’Seanery says, and yet he claims most people encounter more than 200 “fibs and fabrications” every day. You want the proof? You can’t handle the proof.

If you ask Seattle emergency-room nurse and paramedic Steve Platt, who has conducted many an on-the-job interview, the telltale sign when it comes to any person is the changing story or message. “It’s not the old-school campaigns anymore where they’re riding on trains saying hi to the crowds. So it’s hard — you have to judge on general character. So you look for consistency.”

And if you get caught, come clean right away. The reason Bill Clinton’s famous dalliances with intern Monica Lewinsky remain so rooted in people’s minds, he says, is because Clinton went to such lengths to deny them. For his part, Platt doesn’t care whether Clinton had “sexual relations with that woman,” but “just own up to it, man,” he says. “Move on.”

Marc Ramirez: 206-464-8102 or mramirez@seattletimes.com