UNC students witnessed Korem, who calls himself an investigative journalist and documentary producer, translate his professional experience into real-world applications Thursday night during his lecture "Lies, Cons and the Truth." The presentation was sponsored by Campus Crusade for Christ.
Korem captivated the audience in the almost-full Great Hall and opened the show by performing basic card tricks on randomly selected audience members. He used the tricks to outline his theories on deception and manipulation. "The very best deception is where you exert just enough influence on someone so they deceive themselves," he said.
Korem explained the audience's laughter that followed the visually deceptive tricks. "You laughed because of the way the brain is hard-wired," he said. "When you see something, it translates into an emotive response."
Visual deception is most commonly used today by cult leaders, dictators and gang members to control people, Korem said. "You go out onto the streets with these gangs, and you notice (they) like to use visuals to cause people to react out of emotions," he said.
Korem said world leaders such as Saddam Hussein use immense portraits to invoke fear in their people, which he said is the easiest way to control people's wills. "The response is, no one's going to question you," he said.