The First Lie

The First LieTape-record a conversation.  It’s a tried and true method of understanding how people talk, but still surprisingly effective.  Obtain permission of the people you are taping.  Instruct your group each to tell one small lie during the session, only one lie.  Tell them, if they get curious, that some philosophers think that deception was a crucial learned behavior in the emergence of modern consciousness several thousand years ago.  You can participate in the conversation yourself, but don’t become an interviewer.  Let the machine run for a good long while, allowing your friends to become comfortable and less aware of the tape recorder.  Listen to the tape a day or two later.  Play it several times.  Choose some small part of the conversation to transcribe (the lies may be interesting, if you can spot them, but more interesting should be all the other stuff they say).  Transcribe as faithfully as you can.  Do not transcribe more than one page of talk.  After that, fill out the conversation with information about the people who are speaking, giving us only details about them that we need to know.  The final product should be no longer than two pages long, double-spaced.

Published in: on December 28, 2009 at 5:51 am  Leave a Comment  

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