Liar, Liar…Tips For Detecting Deception

In our last blog post, we advised readers to not believe everything they see on TV. It’s great advice in general: don’t believe everything you hear.

The topic also got us wondering how you can tell if somebody’s telling a lie. So, we did a little digging, and came up with a lot of great resources, including this list from WebMD. While those won’t necessarily cover TV ads, it might help in your one-on-one encounters.

Here are a few key things to keep in mind when honing your lie detection skills:

Monitor Inconsistencies in Behavior: First, remember how your mom could always tell if you were fibbing? That wasn’t because she was trained at some secret mom school. She just knew YOU, really well. She could sense changes in your behavior. You stumbled over answers. You avoided looking her in the eye. You blushed or broke a sweat. You revealed yourself, without even knowing it. That’s how professional questioners work, too. They look for inconsistencies in behavior. They trip people up in their recounting of facts.

Watch for Microexpressions: Second, professional interrogators look for what they call “microexpressions.” These are tiny changes in facial and body movements that most people don’t see. Good liars can hide most, but not all, and humans can be trained to detect them. That’s a lot of what security personnel, FBI and CIA agents do these days – focus on learning to track micro-expressions.

Go with Your Gut: And finally, for those of us who are amateur sleuths, this news is interesting: sometimes the best way to nab a liar is to focus a little less on them. The truth can sometimes come up out of nowhere. Don’t try too hard to decipher non-verbal communication, and let the truth come out naturally.

Do you have a never-fail way to catch someone in a lie? Please share!

Updated on April 26, 2022

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