How to Spot a Liar

How to Spot a Liar

How to Spot a Liar

Justin Lavelle
July 12, 2016

Every day we make a choice: tell the truth or tell a lie.

Often times we do not even think about the lies we are telling. In some cases, we even feel okay about being deceitful when we believe the lies will help avoid conflict or avoid hurting someone’s feelings. Studies have shown that you may be lied to from ten to up to two hundred times a day and on average, a stranger lies three times within the first ten minutes of meeting.

Luckily, there have been studies dedicated to identifying when a person is lying and how to easily tell when the lie is happening. These research findings have found liars consistently use verbal indicators and nonverbal cues that can be observed in your own personal life.

Four Verbal Indicators That Someone Might Be Lying:

  1. Minimal Self References: Liars will speak in third-person to distance themselves from the lie.
  2. Negative Language: Liars speak more negatively than others because they feel guilty.
  3. Simple Explanations: A liar will simplify a story to avoid remembering all of the complexities of the lie.
  4. Convoluted Phrasing: Instead of being straight forward, liars will create long sentences filled with irrelevant details.

A TED talk with Pamela Meyer has shown that with the help of science there are also a quite a few nonverbal cues that will help you discover if someone is lying to you.

**Four Non-Verbal Cues That Someone Might Be Lying:  **

  1. A fake smile.
  2. A liar looking into your eyes too much with a frozen upper body and no fidgeting.
  3. The liar will stand with their feet pointing towards an exit.
  4. The liar will place objects between themselves and the person asking about the lie.

Former CIA officers take the identification of cues a step further to discover if someone is lying. One example mentioned in the article is verbal/nonverbal disconnect, if someone is saying “yes,” but shaking their head no this is a potential sign of deceit. Covering one’s mouth while responding to a question with a lie or shielding eyes is another way to tell if someone is lying to you. This action is done by the liar to protect him or herself from your reaction on a subconscious level.

With a little bit of practice and due diligence you will be on your way to easily identifying and protecting yourself from dishonest behavior when encountering people in person.

But what about dealing with dishonest behavior online, when you don’t have access to physical, or even verbal, cues? We’ll explore that topic in a future blog post soon.

Disclaimer: The above is solely intended for informational purposes and in no way constitutes legal advice or specific recommendations.