By Jen Vermass
You may have seen the 2009 TV series “Lie to Me” which was about a private investigation company hired to crack several criminal cases by determining who was lying and who was telling the truth. Believe it or not humans have several telltale signs that you can visibly see and audibly hear if they are lying to you. Most of us have a built in conscience which causes us to have physical symptoms when we are nervous while lying.
Establishing a Baseline
If you establish a ‘baseline’ first when talking to someone who might be about to lie to your face, you will be making them comfortable first by making small talk. You will be able to observe how their voice normally sounds and how their body appears in a relaxed state. Examples of small talk might be things that the person wouldn’t have a reason to lie about so you can observe how that person appears while they aren’t under stress or discomfort.
When someone is lying their body language will tend to be fidgety or submissive in nature. Signs of physical body language can be excessive touching or covering the face with hands, folding of arms, crossed legs or palms raised in defiance to try to get you to believe them. Shrugging of the shoulders while speaking means that the person doesn’t agree with what they are saying. Sweating is a sign that the body is under stress while someone is being deceitful.
Microexpressions are facial expressions lasting a fraction of a second and were discovered by Dr. Paul Ekman – a Psychologist from San Francisco. These microexpressions display displeasure or anger on a person’s face for a split second. You will notice it in pursing of the mouth or lowered corners of the lips – a tense and unpleasant appearance. It will be the same with the eyes – the eyes will get squinty or you will see furrowed eyebrows.
Speech and Voice
While someone is lying their voice will actually rise in pitch. This is because they are nervous and trying to be overly convincing so while the body gets worked up, the vocal pitch will raise as well. Look for pauses. If you ask someone a question and you hear a long pause that means they have no idea how to start lying to you or that they don’t want to tell you the truth. Also pauses during conversation could mean that someone is trying to remember their made-up story and attempting to keep instances of the lie consistent before they blurt out something that could get them caught. If you are dealing with a so-called good liar, they have already prepared with their story which is completely made up and rehearsed before hand. So if you ask them a question and they answer you too quickly without hesitation, then they are just acting out their prepared answers. Liars will also try to omit specific details and will try to stick to a generalized story.
Have you ever heard the expression “You can’t even look me into the eyes and tell me the truth!” This is true, if someone is lying to you it will be difficult for them to look you into the eyes while they are deceiving you. In some cases good liars will give you excessive eye contact while they are lying to try to convince you that that lie is really the truth. Other liars will look up at the ceiling or upwards in a diagonal angle while trying to figure out what to make up next.
What to do if you Suspect a Liar
If you suspect someone is lying to you, fixate on their inconsistencies and ask questions about details of a story that don’t add up. When someone is lying and challenged with facts of their own that don’t make sense, they are most likely going to storm off and leave the conversation because keeping up the charade would be too difficult.
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