How to know if someone is lying to you

By M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.

How to know if someone is lying to you

Suppose that you went to a friend of yours with a smile on your face and then told him that you were sad, will he believe you?

No, he would never believe you because he can see the smile on your face. In other words he noticed the inconsistency between your words and your facial expression.

You might think that Nobody smiles when he is sad and you are right about that but I’m not talking about conscious inconsistencies; I’m talking about unconscious ones.

Your subconscious mind controls many of your involuntary functions like that of breathing, sweating, heart-beating....etc.

When someone attempts to lie he will usually control his facial expressions and his tone of voice but his unconscious mind will still control all other involuntary signals like his body language and respiration rate.

These unconscious signals are the ones you can use to detect if that person is lying. If the person's words are consistent with his unconscious signals then he is saying the truth otherwise, he is lying.

This article is not about intuitive or logical tricks but instead it will tell you about lying detection methods that are based on deep psychological concepts and proven facts.

Signs that Show if Someone Is Lying

The following are signs you should look for when attempting to spot a liar:

  • Body Language: Liars usually hide their palms and don’t sit straight while telling a lie. They also avoid eye contact while telling the lie and they might take the body language negative evaluation gestures if they felt bad while lying (For more information on that gesture check the full page on a liar's body language).
  • Eye Accessing Cues Mismatch: According to NLP The direction the eye moves in reflects the function taking place inside the brain at that time. For example, looking towards the upper left side means that you are constructing an image in your mind while looking at the upper right side means that you are recalling an image. How can that be of use? Well, think about it, if someone looks towards the upper left when asked about something then he's probably constructing an image of the lie he's about to tell. This is one sign that shows that he might be lying.(See the full guide to eye accessing cues and liar detection).
  • Inconsistencies in the Story: If the person is lying then the story he tells might change a bit every time it is discussed. The liar will forget a word, add something completely new or remove something that he had previously mentioned. Regardless of the type of inconsistency, its a sign that shows that a person is lying.
  • Feeling Anxious: Almost anyone who lies feels anxious. The intensity of this anxiety varies depending on how professional the liar is. Try to spot this state of anxiety in order to detect liars. Talk as much as you can about the subject in order to keep the person anxious. Check out anxiety body language in order to be able to detect the presence anxiety.
  • Avoiding the Subject: A person who wants to hide something will usually try to avoid bringing it up in the conversation. Try to talk about anything related to the situation without addressing it directly and see if the person tries to jump to another topic.
  • Lack of Assertiveness: Unless that person is a special agent who is professionally trained to lie he will usually lack assertiveness while lying. His tone of voice will be lower and he will appear to be less confident.
  • Speaking Slowly: When telling a lie the liar will usually make up events as he talks. This usually results in slower talking speed or in stopping many times while talking in order to find what to say.

Lying Detection Final Note

It's very important to know that there are many other variables involved in this process thus I suggest that you use these methods for decision support and not for sole judgment of others.

For example, if you suspect that someone is lying then you should see if any of these signs are present. Of course the more signs you find the more likely that person is lying.

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