The body language of lying

By M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.

Reading Body language: In state of lying

Just like any other emotional state, lying brings about some changes to your body form and posture. If you are familiar with these postures you will be able to detect liars right away.

When it comes to detecting a liar via body language your task may be a little bit difficult than when trying to detect other states. Basically, there are two methods to detect liars; the first one is not that accurate but is rather simple.

The second one needs a little bit of extra effort but is much more accurate. The first is based on body language while the second is based on NLP's Eye Accessing Cues. By combining both methods, you'll be able to spot liars easily. Read further to know more about both.

Detecting a liar using body language

Let's start with the simple method. There are a lot of noticeable signs that can be detected when someone lies. If you noticed two or more of these signs then this means that the person is possibly lying. Noticing more than three signs will raise the accuracy of your lying detection process and so on. Remember, one sign is never enough!

The signs you will be looking for are:

  • 1)Touching the nose: If the target person is not used to tell lies or if his values and beliefs made him think that lying is immoral then he wont feel comfortable while telling the lie and he will take one of the negative evaluation postures (touching nose or ears). Negative evaluation Postures in body language are taken when someone considers something to be negative. In this case the guy doesn't like the fact that he is lying and thus he took the negative evaluation body posture. Note that this only happens with people who consider lying a bad thing and not with everyone else.
  • 2)Weak Eye contact: Eye contact becomes poor when someone is lying: while telling a lie the person may keep looking at other stuff around him just to avoid looking at you. If you want to know everything about Eye contact in body language then refer to this guide
  • 3)Hiding his palms: Palms rarely become visible when someone is lying: Being comfortable with showing your palms while talking is a sign of honesty and truthfulness; people who lie usually put their palms down or keep their hands in their pockets. See the pictures below illustrating the differences between someone who is lying and someone who is telling the truth
  • 4)Bending his back: The back is rarely kept straight and the posture is rarely kept upright when someone is lying (unless the person is proud of lying. See body language and straight backs for more information on this topic)
  • 5)Anxious body language: If the person who is lying wasn't a professional liar then some of the anxiousness he is experiencing might appear in his body language. This might include fidgeting, speech mistakes, moving often in chair and sweaty palms. See Body language of anxiety.
  • 6) Hands in pockets: Putting the hands in pocket isn't a sign that a person is lying but it could be a sign that the person wants to hide. In such a case a person could have felt guilty for lying and as a result felt like he wanted to hide (on the subconscious level). Note that putting only one hand in pocket could have a totally different meaning. See Hands in pocket in body language
  • 7) Only parts of the face reflect the emotion: When i talked about reading facial expressions i explained how the whole face of a person usually responds when a person experiences a certain emotion. If only a part of the face responded, such as a person smiling with his mouth only, then it could mean that those emotions aren't genuine
  • 8) Scowling the face: According to a study people are more likely to frown and scowl when they lie. This doesn't mean that each frowning person is a liar but it just means that the probability of lying is considered higher when a person does those things.
  • 9) Forced eye contact: Some lairs have learned to force eye contact in order to appear innocent. Those people might actually look in your eyes more for longer periods of time. While the healthy eye contact percentage should be around 70 to 80% of the time a liar could keep his eyes focused on you to seem innocent.

Beware of accuracy issues

Unlike the body language of confidence where the state of confidence can be detected with a 100% accuracy the state of lying can never be singled out using body language no matter what people tell you.

All the recent body of research has pointed out to the fact that it is almost impossible to detect lying using body language and that this might only be possible using the tone of voice.

So if that's the case then why would you bother to learn this?
Simply because this information can be used for decision support. So if you think that somebody is lying then those gestures can be used to confirm your doubts.

As you've just seen, very slight changes to your body language can have a big effect on your relationships with people. In my book, How to make someone fall in love with you, I elaborated on how slight changes, such as keeping your back straight, can increase the chances of having people fall in love with you. The more confident you appear, the more attractive you will become, and nothing can make you appear confident more than a straight back.

2knowmyself is, without doubt, the only complete guide to body language information on the entire internet. If you dare challenge this statement, then check the 2knowmyself’s
body language section and you will know what I am talking about.

Want to know more?

More methods for detecting Liars

The second lying detection method (advanced)

The 'body language' main page

How can I know if someone loves/likes me?

How to get over anyone in few days (book)

How to make anyone fall in love with me fast (book)

How to end Depression instantly (book)

How to control people's minds (Course)

How to develop rock solid self confidence fast (course)






2knowmyself Best Selling Books


How to make someone fall in love with you.
Based on the psychology of falling in love

How to get over anyone in few days
Breakups will never hurt like before.

How i became a dot com millionaire
The ultimate guide to making money from the internet