Psychology

How to tell if somebody is Lying



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There are a number of ways to determine whether someone is being truthful or not. The first most recognizable way is related to eye contact. When someone can't look you in the eyes they likely have something to hide or are unsure about what they are saying. The next way is to consider their other body language signals. When people are nervous they tend to fidget. This includes stamping their feet, tapping their fingers, swinging back and forth, putting their hands on their heads, and others.

Often when someone is telling a lie they put one or both hands on or near their facial area. It is as if they don't believe what they are saying so they will inadvertently block their view. Other subtle signs that one is lying includes putting hands over one's mouth, caressing one's chin, scratching one's head, or pulling on the ear. When people know they are lying they need an outlet for their anxiety. This can come in the form of self restraint postures as described above. On the other hand, when someone is telling the truth they are in a much more relaxed state where they exhibit unrestrained normal body language and a calm demeanor.

There are verbal cues to determine whether one is lying or not. Most often when someone is lying their vocal range changes. This range can be very subtle or extreme. A very uncharacteristic voice change is a suspicious sign. A slight voice change may just be due to normal stress, but the observer should watch other cues to see if the person is being truthful or not. The best way to spot a liar is to watch all of their signals; verbal and non-verbal.

Some of the cues that liars give may sound obvious, but many of us forget to watch for them during the normal course of a conversation. When you ask someone a pertinent question and they take an unusually long time to give you an answer, it may mean that their memory is failing them or that they are attempting to construct a false answer. The more slow answers they give the more culpable they are.

A classic trick used by detectives is to tell the person that the lie has already been uncovered. For example, the detective will say, "we know what you did on Johnson street, why don't you just fess up about it." In reality the detective has no clue as to what happened on Johnson street but this trick has made many felons confess to their crime. Likewise, if you feel that a timely answer is crucial you can employ this trick to attempt to get the real information. If it turns out that the person is being honest, you can just say that you were only joking. This way you defuse the situation.

To be a successful liar one has to have a very good memory. The fact is that most people don't have a perfect memory. If they are lying about something the facts will eventually come out in the end. One way to get the facts is to ask the person questions about a string of events surrounding the scenario which you want to gain information about. When you are out of the room write down their response on a note pad. At a later date ask the person the same questions and see if their story has changed. If you notice their story has changed dramatically you can call them on it and see their response. This is also another device used by detectives.

If the situation permits you can be more forceful. This includes strait out saying to the person, "I know you are lying." You repeat this over and over until the person confesses.

Try to determine whether another person's statements add up. If they do add up, add up at a later date, and the person does not exhibit any suspicious communication signals, then there is a good chance they are telling the truth. The one exception would be if the person was professionally trained in the art of lying and avoiding detection. The latter type of person requires more intense analysis which requires a deeper and more abstract observation. One way to find out such a person is to determine whether they fully answered your question. A person who has nothing to hide will divulge more than enough information. On the other hand, someone who is lying will only say as much as necessary to get you off of their case. Pay close attention the quality and quantity of information that they give you.

Liars will want you to assume that they are being truthful. They will give emotional pleas hoping that they will persuade you in some way. They will say things like "I am a very honest person" or "I swear to God." An honest person usually gives the facts in a laid back manner. The truthful person has nothing to prove since they do not feel any sense of guilt. If you sense that the person is going overboard in trying to persuade you then it may be a sign of guilt.

Liars often respond in technicalities. This means that they will say "I am not a felon" because technically they have not been convicted by a court. They may have committed a felonious crime but technically they are not a felon. It is hard for people to lie so they try to stretch the truth into technicalities or they obfuscate the facts.

Stay one step ahead of the person by asking lots of questions. You can ask questions slowly, then launch a flurry of questions. A liar will be disoriented while an honest person will more faster and more comprehensive in his answers.

If someone answers a question with a question then it is a sign of defensiveness. The person may say "why would I do something like that?" or "what do you think happened?" The more questions the person asks you in return the more they are dodging the question. This is just a way for them to buy more time make a false answer. Remember that you are the one doing the interviewing and will not be intimidated.

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