Friday, July 17, 2009

What's My Line?

In the 1950's there was a popular TV show in the US called "What's My Line?". The panel, composed of minor celebrities, would hear a brief description of the interest job or accomplishments of an otherwise little known person. then 3 individuals would appear, each claiming to be the person whose bio had just been read. The panelists would ask them questions for 10 minutes to try to determine which of the 3 was the real person and which 2 were imposters. The panelists would succeed about 2/3 of the time. The lesson for the real world is that we are not so good at detecting fraud as we might like to think. We are easily misled by appearances and our prejudices and preconceptions.

1 comment:

  1. In the early 2000s, there was a UK reality TV show caled "Faking It" in which a complete novice was given 3 weeks to compete with "experts" in a given vocation - eg burger flipper as chef, working class girls as aristocratic lady, housepainter as modern artist. In many of the programmes, one of the key inputs in the coaching and training and preparation process was acting training in how to carry oneself with confidence in the new role. Many of the candidates managed to compete without being spotted as the "fake" and some of them won! We underestimate the role of confidence in giving the expert "authority" beyond their technical knowledge or skill.