Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have the superpower of knowing when a person was being truthful and when they were lying? The good news is that you don’t need superpowers. Many people who are interested in things like this are very fascinated by the study of psychology and go on to pursue a forensic psychology degree, using it to become part of some type of criminal investigation team. Here are just a few of the things they learn about to help tell when someone is being untruthful.
1 – Count Their Blinks
Studies have shown that when someone is lying they blink more rapidly than normal. Savvy politicians have caught on to this and are often encouraged by their advisors to slow their blinking down. This often results in the opposite effect – a less than human person who never blinks.
2 – Pay Attention to What They’re Paying Attention To
When someone tells you a lie, do you think they’re more likely to make eye contact or to look away? If you’re like most people, you probably believe that a person who’s lying won’t make eye contact. In fact, studies have shown that the opposite is actually true. When someone’s lying, they are likely to look you right in the eyes.
3 – Listen to Their Language
It’s common for those telling a lie to draw attention to their truthfulness. They often begin sentences with “honestly,” or “frankly.” The more a person tries to convince you they’re not lying, the more likely it is that they are in fact lying.
4 – Body Language May Tell a Different Story
Once again, people are often wrong when they assess what body language points to a lie. For example, a person who’s slouched down and looks nervous is actually less likely to be lying than a person who’s sitting confidently with their feet on the table and a smile on their face.
5 – Smile – You’re Being Assessed
There are subtle differences in a sincere smile vs. an insincere smile. First, a sincere smile tends to last less than five seconds, and it tends to reach all the way up their face and leave a crinkle around their eyes. On the other hand, a liar’s smile often sticks around much longer than five seconds and it typically doesn’t change their eyes.
6 – The Best Lies Contain Portions of the Truth
An experienced liar will use a story that’s mostly true and interject lies in to it. In an effort to convince you they’re not lying, they’re likely to repeat the portions of their story that are verifiably true. Keep in mind that just because they can verify a part of their story, that doesn\’t mean the entire story is true.
7 – The Devil is in the Details
Liars often add tons of detail to a story in an effort to both convince you it’s true and to bog you down with so many details that you lose track of the story. If this happens, just pause and ask for clarification. Keep the person questioned on track.
8 – Defensiveness is a Tell-Tale Sign
When you try and question someone who’s lying, they’re likely to turn it around on you. They may accuse you of misrepresenting what they said, or putting words in their mouths. Don’t bite. If they’re telling the truth, they won’t feel quite so compelled to get out of the hot seat by putting you in it.
There isn\’t a single point on this list that means a person is definitely lying, but if they are guilty of several then you know there may be more to the story than they’re telling you. If you find that a high likelihood of someone being untruthful, considering the psychology aspect, why are they lying, might help you even more in determining the truth.