If truth be told, these ‘tells’ won’t appear

August 3, 2018

Did you know that just 54% of lies can be accurately spotted? It’s not easy when you are with a proficient prevaricator—but, according to the Science of People, if you know what signs (or “tells,” as they are called) to anticipate, you can detect a falsehood in real time.

One of the very first steps is to become familiar with how a person typically acts under normal, non-threatening conditions. This is how that person will look when he or she is telling the truth.

Next. according to the experts at Forensic Colleges, watch for one of the following tells. They represent the top 10 signs that your conversational partner is embroidering on the truth.

  1. A change in his or her voice: A person’s speech patterns and mannerisms may change when he or she is lying.
  2. Sitting or standing stock-still: When somebody minimizes his or her movements—or even pulls the arms and legs in toward the body—that rigidity is a sign of tension.
  3. Body language does not match what he or she is saying: When a person nods his or her head sideways for “no,” while replying in the affirmative, it can be a big giveaway.
  4. Creating distance: A liar may create distance from the truth, even changing his or her selection of pronouns. (For example, I misplaced her money” might became “I misplaced the money,” in an effort, subconscious or otherwise, to show less connection to whatever is being discussed.)
  5. Looking sideways: A liar may look to the left, while he or she is constructing answers or imagery. This may be opposed to looking to the right or up and to the right, where people’s eyes often head when they are trying to recall an auditory or visual memory. (However, these eye directions may be reversed for the typical left-handed person.)
  6. Covering the mouth or eyes: Many people want to literally cover up a lie or hide themselves from the reaction to it. Others may even actually completely close their eyes when telling a lie—particularly, when it is in response to a question that does not require a lot of reflection.
  7. Unusual gestures: During the course of a lie, a person may lick his lips, or look at her nails. That’s the anxiety response kicking in.
  8. Taking a hard pause: Someone who is being untruthful may pause, as he or she works to provide details or stories to explain something that actually did not occur.
  9. Improvising with details: Since a liar may make up things on the fly, he or she also may have a tendency to add excessive detail to better convince themselves or others of what they are saying.
  10. Pointing a finger (literally): Pointing a finger may represent a physical attempt to take the focus off of one individual and place it on someone else.

Finally, extroverts tell more lies than introverts (maybe, just because they talk more overall). And don’t feel bad if you can’t identify a liar every time: At least 82% of lies go totally undetected, according to Science of People.

Research contact: @vvanedwards

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