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Why We Cheat; How to Spot a Liar; Writer of Dear Abby Has Died

Aired January 17, 2013 - 15:30   ET



BROOKE BALDWIN, ANCHOR, "CNN NEWSROOM": You can cheat on your spouse or your partner, girlfriend, boyfriend, without having an affair. I'm talking about financial infidelity.

Of the 31 percent of people who pool resources and say they have been deceptive about money, more than half say they have hidden cash or minor purchase. Thirty-four percent have downright lied.

I want to bring in money expert Terry Savage. She is a financial columnist for the "Chicago Sun-Times." Terry, good to see you.

Look, when we have this umbrella of financial cheating, we are talking, what, perhaps pilfering a little bit of money here and there, maybe having a secret bank account, maybe credit card fraud down the road.

But the essence is not always about money, is it not?

TERRY SAVAGE, FINANCIAL COLUMNIST, "CHICAGO SUN-TIMES": That's the whole thing. We measure money and we talk about cheating and money, whether it's someone trading on inside information or Madoff just literally ripping off millions from people.

But when you're in a relationship, cheating is about something else. I'm sure all those other people have psychological sicknesses and a desire to be punished. In a relationship, it's something different. It's about control and power.

In a relationship, money can be power and the person who is hiding stuff, maybe it's just a defiance of the control that the other person has. And, so, there is a whole psychological aspect besides I'm taking just $20 out of his wallet or I'm going to hide the shopping bags in the trunk of the car so he won't see them when I get home. A lot more about the relationship that it says.

BALDWIN: It's cheating, bottom line. It is cheating whether it's sex or money. What is your advice for a couple? How should a couple handle money?

SAVAGE: OK, so, you can't really have a basic trusting relationship if it's all about the power of money. And there are sometimes people don't know how to handle money in the relationship and I'll give you a couple of Terry's tips. The first thing is no one said just because you're going to live together or get married that you have to pool all your money. In fact, that's probably a bad idea. You should set up one household account and each contribute to it. Maybe 50/50. Maybe if one makes more money, then that person contributes more.

And then each keep money on the side, his or her accounts. You can buy the other person a birthday present or be frivolous, do whatever you want. That sets up independence and it sets up privacy so you don't have to feel like you are cheating.

And then agree on certain goals. You might be saving for joint things like college for your children or for a mortgage or a down payment or maybe long-term things like paying off your own student loans. Those are some separate things that you keep your money for.

But, again, you can structure a relationship around money in a way that you don't have to fight about it. If you still find you are hiding, it's all about defying someone's power. That destroys self- respect. You can't really have a relationship.

BALDWIN: What kind of a relationship would that be, right? Terry Savage, thank you on the financial cheating.

We have to talk, though, Wall Street because his name is synonymous with cheating. Bernie Madoff ran the biggest Ponzi scheme in history, taking money from widows and the working men, as well as the rich and famous, promising to invest it, but stealing it instead.

Let me bring in CNN legal analyst Sunny Hostin. And, Sunny, what makes someone like a Bernie Madoff tick?

SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, you know, in the world of criminal psychology, we sort of call it the elite deviant, sort of the power elite. And what fuels it is sort of this grandiose self regard that you are smarter than everyone else combined with a sort of thrill seeking.

And what's interesting, Brooke, when they study the mines of these criminals and they interview them, they really get a rush, almost like a drug high from bilking the system or cheating someone that they believe isn't as smart as them. And sometimes that's even the person that trained them.

And most times people think, well, it's just greed, but it's so much more complex than greed. It's sort of greed mixed in with this thrill-seeking behavior mixed in with the urge to compete and then, finally, mixed in with truly a personality disorder.

And, if you have all of that going on, you have the makings of a Bernie Madoff.

BALDWIN: You know, though, this grandiose sense of self that you mentioned, it seem to translate to some the athletes we were talking about before, people who are having sex and cheating on their spouses.

Don't they know at the end of the day, I'm going to get caught? Don't they know that?

HOSTIN: I used to think that all the time when I was a federal prosecutor. Like, don't they know that people like me are going to look into this, that they are breaking the law?

And I think the question is, yes, they know they are breaking the law, but they don't think they're going to get caught, Brooke, because they are so much smarter than everyone else.

And you may not see the kind of behavior that we saw with Bernie Madoff. That, I mean, is just the biggest Ponzi scheme in U.S. history, but on a smaller scale, you see this behavior oftentimes with white collar criminals. It's almost a formulaic. It's almost a profile of someone that will cheat when it comes to the law.

BALDWIN: How about that? Sunny Hostin, thank you.

Before we go to break, just quickly, Sanjay, I want to get you to talk about this Duke study. Because, as we are talking, we're talking about stealing cash, this is fascinating. People were more tempted to steal, what, tokens for a delayed gratification of then turning them into cash versus the cash off the bat.

DR. SANJAY DHALL, NEUROSURGEON: So, they did an experiment at Duke where they gave people the opportunity to steal cash and what they found is that people were less likely to steal regular cash than they were a token that they could take and then somewhere down the hall exchange for money.

It seemed like, if it was somehow indirect, if there was a delayed gratification, it was easier for these people to rationalize the cheating or the stealing in their minds.

BALDWIN: And, just quickly, 20 seconds, why?

DR. PAULA BLOOM, PSYCHOLOGIST: Well, because we are somewhat removed from it. It's the whole theme of what we have been talking about.

It's easier to have emotional infidelity online because you're removed. There is a certain sense of anonymity. It's easier to steal office supplies than it is to steal cash from your work. It's easier with the magnetic -- you know, all these little numbers on credit cards because it feels so removed from what we are really dealing with which is the money.

BALDWIN: I have a tendency to pilfer pens. Am I cheating? From the workplace.

BLOOM: I think you are great news anchor, Brooke. You're awesome. You're an awesome human being.

BALDWIN: We'll move on. Take a look at this video here and watch this, Lance Armstrong.


LANCE ARMSTRONG, CYCLIST: The facts are overwhelming.


BALDWIN: Lance Armstrong explaining here that he would never use performance-enhancing drugs. We are about to talk to a human lie detector to get reaction to this video. And how can you tell someone s lying by looking at him? How? That's next.


BALDWIN: Now, we want to teach you how you can spot a liar. The man known as the "human lie detector," Steve Van Aperen, he joins me on the phone all the way from Australia.

Steve, I know you have talked to and interviewed serial killers, murderers, you know, trying to find flimsy spots in their stories. You say you -- in 30 seconds, you have this profiling technique to figure out if someone is lying. Hit me. How can you tell?

STEVE VAN APEREN, "HUMAN LIE DETECTOR" (via telephone): Well, firstly, I analyzed the content and structure of language.

The most important thing is for every one lie a person tells, they invent another two or three to protect themselves from the first one, so they have to have a great memory because they don't want to have to contradict what they've previously said.

So, what I'll do is I'll analyze a number of behaviors, but also listen to what they say.

Now, in Lance's case, one thing that I found interesting, having heard some tapes in the past, he kept referring to himself as Lance Armstrong. Now, when people use third person, it's almost like they're creating distance, disassociation and separation in language.

Usually, truthful people take ownership and possession, so analyze not just content but how people use the verbs and nouns in language to create distance, as well.

BALDWIN: That's interesting because I did notice he does refers to himself in the third person a lot.

In fact, let me just play this clip. This is back in 2005 when he was adamantly denying that he was -- you know, he wasn't doping. He wasn't doping. You can't see this, but everyone else can, so let's watch the clip. We'll talk about the other side.


LARRY KING, FORMER CNN TALK SHOW HOST: Can you unequivocally say you have never used an illegal substance ever.

ARMSTRONG: Listen, I've said it for seven years. I've said it for longer than seven years. I have never doped. I can say it again, but I've said it for seven years. It doesn't help. But the fact of the matter is I haven't and, if you consider my situation, a guy who comes back from arguably, you know, death sentence, why would I then enter into a sport and dope myself up and risk my life again.

That's crazy. I would never do that. That's -- no. No way.


BALDWIN: So, in that case, Steve, he said I. I have never doped. But is there anything about one's face? You've seen Lance on TV.

VAN APEREN (via telephone): Firstly, there were a number of things there. One of the things I see, I've worked on over 60 homicide cases.

One of the things I see regularly -- one of the things people will do, not only just create distance, but when he became defensive and attacked, why would I do this -- why would I do that -- it's almost like deflecting.

And deceptive people will often do that. They'll deflect to take the attention off themselves, so pronouns such as "I" -- didn't do that -- that's fine. Because, don't forget, he's had a long time to rehearse those lies and those deceptions.

And, now -- back then, anyway -- those questions, he had to maintain the status quo. So, I look for pronouns out of place. In that case, he had many, many occasions where he's denied, denied, denied, denied. It doesn't mean that he didn't do it.

BALDWIN: Steve van Aperen, the "human lie detector," appreciate your insight.

Want just final thoughts from you two, Dr. Paula Bloom.

BLOOM: You know, here's what I think about the cheating thing and just in general. Two things. One, it's usually not the crime that gets people in trouble. It's the cover up. You know, it's all the stuff you do to try to cover it up.

It's not who you are. It's everything you do to try to be something that you are not that gets you in trouble.

And then the other thing is that, you know, we don't see the world as it is. We see it as we are. We create and the way that we think influences how we feel, how we act, how we live our life.

BALDWIN: Sanjay?

DHALL: Well, even though we still don't quite understand why some people lie and some people don't, we are getting better at understanding the anatomy and the physiology behind lying because we have better and better imaging technologies such as the functional MRI which will actually show us the activities of the brain when someone is lying and, potentially, it will show us who's lying in the future. BALDWIN: It is straight up there, thanks to science.

Sanjay Dhall and Lisa Bloom, thank you. And Paula Bloom, forgive me. I have Lisa Bloom on the brain. Talked to her a couple of days ago.

Paula Bloom, thank you.

And, as we talk about why we cheat, I just want to wrap this up with a look back at a woman who confronted these issues every day, answering questions from cheaters and liars and from the people they cheated and lied to.

Pauline Friedman Phillips, she started an advice column under the pen name, "Abigail Van Buren." You know her as "Dear Abby." She had an answer for everything.


PAULINE FRIEDMAN PHILLIPS, "DEAR ABBY": There is always an answer. Even if it's, say, look, pal, you can't change anybody but yourself.

You've got to play the cards that are dealt you and you have to live with this. Do the best you can, but you've got to accept what fate deals you.


BALDWIN: We learned today that Pauline Phillips, the original "Dear Abby" died Wednesday after a long battle with Alzheimer's disease at the age of 94.

A column she started in 1956 continues today, written by her daughter, Jeanne Phillips. We'll be right back.


BALDWIN: Breaking news now on that hostage situation at an oil field. In the North African nation of Algeria, it is reportedly over.

We are hearing from Algerian state media that a land action assault by the Algerian army has freed nearly 600 workers including western hostages. Americans were among those being held by Islamic extremists.

The mastermind is a man with the nickname, "Mr. Marlboro," a veteran jihadist, once with links to al Qaeda.

Earlier, the Algerian government said some hostages and kidnappers were killed in the operation. No word yet as to how many and whom. We'll be right back.


ALI VELSHI, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: From the CNNMoney Newsroom in New York, I am Ali Velshi. I want to show you a picture of something. Take a look at this. Do you know what this is? It's the root of all of Boeing's problems with the FAA. This is the 787, the Boeing Dreamliner, and the problem is a battery.

There are 50 787s in service in the world with eight airlines. There are about 150 of these flights every day.

Let me show you, by the way, the battery is what the problem is here. This is why the Federal Aviation Administration has grounded this plane to find out what the problem is.

There are about 800 of these planes are on order. That's what the actual problem is.

Now, there have been bunch of things going on with this Dreamliner, as they call it. There have been fuel leaks and these batteries catching fire. One of them had a cracked windshield, so all over the world, they've been taken out. One-hundred-fifty flights a day, none are happening right now.

Now, this is one of the biggest innovations in airline travel since these guys. Let me show you who they are, the Wright Brothers. They invented the airplane and, after that, you know, there were lots of airplanes made.

One of the bigger innovations after that was in 1969 when the Boeing 747 came into service -- that's this plane here -- the biggest plane around, the jumbo jet. I want to remind you, back when this happened, by the way, there were also lots of delays and lots of problems.

But the 787, the Dreamliner, the one we're talking about and I've got a model of that, as well, this isn't the biggest plane around, but it is a really neat plane. It's a composite structure. It gets 20 percent better fuel economy. It's got a cabin that is pressurized so you feel more like sea level, a new electrical system which includes lithium-ion batteries, exactly the kind that you have in your cell phone. That's lithium-ion, too. This plane needs them and that's why it's having some of those problems.

Now, here's another issue about why you're having these problems with this particular plane. And that it has a global supply-chain. These parts for these planes are made all over the world. The fuselage, the main section of the plane, is made in Italy. The landing gear is made in Canada. The wings come from Japan. And the plane is all assembled right here in Seattle, Washington.

That is the global supply chain. It's all supposed to work really well and there have been a lot of people who criticize the fact that that might be what the problem is.

Now, I want to show you the stock price, the stock chart of this -- of Boeing. But I can't sort of get it to work. Let me just show it to you.

All right, so, there's your stock chart. If you bought the stock a year ago, you'll find it's basically in the same place. So, while the stock place has come down in a little bit in the last week, shareholders don't really care about this.

Why? Because they know, like the 747, like the A-380 before it, it's not all that serious. This will get it worked out.

But should you buy the stock right now? I spoke to a guy today who says probably not.


CARTER LAKE, SENIOR EQUITY ANALYST, BB&T CAPITAL MARKETS: Even if there is nothing, there is going to be this cloud of uncertainty that, because it's an investigation, you just won't get information out of anyone and that's going to put a strain on the stock.


VELSHI: So, bottom line is, these planes will be sorted out. They will not fly until they are safe, so you know that's going to happen. So, your only question right now is whether you should own the stock.

If you own 401(k)s, it might be in there, but it's already seen a bit of a loss. The question is, there are 800 of these planes on order, only 50 in service, so is that going to be a problem? Are people going to start cancelling their orders? Probably not yet, but we'll keep on top of it.

Remember, the A-380, it looks very small here, but this is one of the -- this is the biggest plane out there. It's bigger than the 747. This thing had engine problems when it came out. Those have subsequently been sorted out. This is Boeing's competitor, Airbus.

And, like I said, the Boeing 747, the jumbo jet before that, had a lot of delays and a lot of problems. It happens because planes are more complicated to build than one might actually think.

That's it for me. I'm Ali Velshi from the CNNMoney Newsroom in New York. See you, same time tomorrow.


BALDWIN: Having a tough time writing a cover letter? Guess what? Wall Street is hailing one young man's cover letter as perhaps the best it has ever received and now it's gone viral.

It comes from this 22-year-old. Matthew Ross sent a brutally honest cover letter to a New York investment firm.

In it he writes, quote, "I won't waste your time inflating my credentials, throwing around exaggerated job titles or feeding a line of crap about how my past experiences and skill-set align perfectly for an investment banking internship.

"The truth is, I have no unbelievably special skills or genius eccentricities, but I do have a near perfect GPA and will work hard for you."

While some Wall Street bigwigs praised this letter, critics say it's the extraordinary things that land you a job, but a lot of companies are now reportedly trying to hire young Mr. Ross.

And all day long here we've been focusing on the psychology of why we cheat and, not entirely unrelated to cheating, you have former South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford.

He is sitting down with Piers Morgan tonight. You know he's just announced he's running for Congress. Don't miss it, "Piers Morgan Tonight," one on one with Mark Sanford, starting at 9:00 p.m. Eastern time.

That's it for me. I'll be back here, same time tomorrow. I'm Brooke Baldwin.

Let's go to Washington and Wolf Blitzer. Hey, Wolf.

WOLF BLITZER, ANCHOR, "THE SITUATION ROOM": Brooke, thanks very much.