Sophisticated readers of the Wall Street Journal beware: You can be conned, just like the rest of us.
The following article, by Susan Pinker, appeared in last weekend’s edition:
You can’t be fooled by a con? Don’t count on it, on WSJ.com.
The Journal doesn’t provide articles for free, so I’ll provide a summary of key points:
- 35 million Americans fall for scams each year, according to the Federal Trade Commission.
- One reason we fall for scams is because we are biologically programmed to trust and cooperate.
- Research shows that we can detect a lie only about 50 percent of the time.
- The unconscious mind may be better at detecting lies than rational focus.
So if you’ve been conned or deceived — and if you were involved with a sociopath, you probably were — it doesn’t mean you’re stupid. It means you’re human.
Oh yeah — and a con artist is unlikely to look like the guy in the picture.