The truth is people lie. On resumes, at work or in trivial conversations with friends and family, studies have shown that the average person lies two to twenty-five times per day. The reason for so much lying is that there are very few of us able to the detect fraudulence in others.
But this can be changed. Spotting liars does not require psychic ability or expensive computers. Lying is unnatural and therefore, the body will respond respectively with unnatural movements. Whether the liar is shifting his eyes, flapping his hands, smiling, stuttering or inhaling a cigarette, he is prone to unconscious gestures that expose his true intentions.
Once you learn what these signs are and what they mean, you too can become a human lie detector.
People hardly ever say what they mean, but their bodies never lie. Here are some tells usually associated with liars. But take caution: these indicators alone do not indict proof of guilt, but rather signal that something is afoul or off-key. The more experienced you become at spotting and interpreting these signals, the easier it will be distinguishing nervous habits from acts of deception.
The Eyes: Children often refrain from looking into their parents’ eyes when lying. This is because they are afraid of seeing themselves ‘caught in the act’. They will often divert their line of sight long enough to lie and return when they are telling the truth. Adults have this problem too, with some extreme cases preventing liars from looking at you at all. This is also why most professional poker players wear dark sunglasses to conceal themselves from their opponents.
On the other end of the spectrum there are the ‘Starers’, or those who believe they can intimidate you into believing them with a straight-forward gaze. Politicians and salesmen often use this technique because they need to present a false sense of security to the public. A businessman will stare to size up his opponents and demand respect. If you ever feel threatened from such a look, there is probably more behind what is being said than what actually is.
Tensed Muscles: Symptoms of the tensed liar are a tight, upright military stance, awkward, herky-jerky muscle movements and slight twitching throughout the body. Liars exhibit these movements because they are constantly thinking how to act truthfully, which delays all other thoughts and movements. Some liars will combat this nervousness by turning into a statue and remaining still. Remember those that speak the truth do so in fluid, coordinated manner. Any discrepancies from the norm are clues that he or she is lying.
Touch of the Nose: Because of the nervous pressure involved with lying, people will exhibit certain habits to calm them down. The most notable of these impulses is the touching of one’s nose. Liars will often do this repeatedly even after they’ve told a fib. While many of us are ‘itchers’, we itch rather violently for quick relief-those that lie tend to massage or caress the outer skin or remain touching the nose for no apparent reason. The scratching of the head or behind the neck or the concealment of one’s mouth by the hand are also substitutes of this behavior.
Smiling: If someone smiles at you and does not show their teeth, they’re not into it. The more teeth revealed, the more genuine the emotion. The only exception to this rule is the horizontal smile, or what researchers call ‘the oblong smile’. You’ve seen this smile in pictures, in awkward social situations and meetings you’re your boss. The expression is for display purposes only, and even the fool can spot its transparency.
Besides body language, the liar will also change the way he speaks and functions around those that suspect him of error. Here are more red flags that warrant something is askew.
Voice Change: Even over the phone, it is possible to tell when someone is lying. Because it is an act, the liars voice will change. You’ve probably heard a commercial or listened to a salesman use this voice to persuade you into buying or agreeing with something. Experienced liars know how to keep the variation to a minimum and are harder to identify, while those with less skill will speak in strange chunks and clusters, or shut up entirely.
Nervous habits like constant throat cleaning and stuttering are also flags, as well as those who use multiple ‘uhs’ and ‘likes’ to convey explanations. They are stalling to buy more time to think of something better, and if pressured, will lie to relieve themselves of the situation.
Breathing: Short breaths means hostility and nervousness, and the liar will either take on this trait or have the ‘urge’ to do the opposite and hold his breath in defense. Try to match their breathing in relation to what their bodies are saying. If both are in agreement, it will add more insurance to your claim.
Use these tells in a bar or at a social gatheringÃ¢Â?Â¦
Smoking: Is the chain smoker taking his time? Is the sedated smoker puffing away? Deviation from the way a cigarette is smoked is just like any other change in natural movement. . If a smoker is telling you the truth, he or she will be fluid in not only in the way he speaks and gestures, but the way he tokes his smoke as well. Those who let their cigarettes run or burn are more likely to be tense than a constant flow of inhales. This is because most individuals smoke after their stress has been relinquished
Drinking: The more drinking used to interrupt a speech, the more nervous they are. This is another delay tactic to ‘take the edge off’ from their deceitful, uncomfortable predicament. While this could be considered a habit dealing with those who are just lack the confidence of others, it is something you should at least be aware of and consider.
Common “Truth” Gestures:
Relaxed, calm: The more soothing and relaxed a person is, the more likely is he comfortable and telling the truth. This can even refer to how a person is dressed. Is his tie choking him or leaving room for air? Is the coat buttoned (tight, defensive) or is it open or hanging on the chair behind him (loose, relaxed)? The ‘looser’ an individual seems, the more you should be willing to trust him.
Open Palms: Open palms signals honesty, which is the reason we shake hands to show acceptance to friends and strangers. Those who are innocent of crimes will often throw their palms in the air, while those who are guilty will hide them in their pockets.
Touching: When someone is comfortable with you, they will touch you. High fives, pats on the shoulder, a kiss on the lips are all non-verbally communicating trust. Just take caution to those who use touching as a reinforcement of their lies. There is a difference between holding hands out of affection and holding them for reassurance.
Use your Instincts:
If you are still unable to decide what is true, listen to yourself. Learning to trust your instincts has, and always will be, key to survival. All creatures are born with them, but we seem to be the only species that discards or ignores our inner feelings in place what others believe to be different. Lawyers, doctors and great athletes all possess great instincts, as well as military veterans who have survived battles and wars.
If you feel someone is lying and cannot explain it, the chances are still good you’ve caught a fish. Trust yourself and either act on the notion or pry for more evidence until the truth is revealed. You’ll be surprised how right you usually are.
One last Thing:
It is possible for one to be lying and telling the truth at the same time. For this fact alone, it is impossible to discern all lies, because the liars themselves are, in their own best knowledge, telling you what they believe to be true. There are those who will go to their graves having spoken to God, those who have had aliens implant them with locating devices and those who claim strange voices have told them to do many harmful things. The hardest case our courts deal with today is what makes a person clinically insane and to what extent is it responsible in homicide. There are times when we may not believe the other, but believe the other to be telling us what they believe to be true. Confusing as this sounds, using the above signals you’ll be able to tell if that person is adamant about his claims.