In a day and age where truth can be misdiagnosed as fake and things that are fake can be construed to be the truth, we need to decipher the fact from the fiction. Whether it be in a murder mystery novel or watching mainstream media or even in our daily lives, it is important to differentiate who is telling us the truth and who is blatantly lying to our faces.
The American Psychological Association performed a study that showed that, on average, Americans tell approximately 11 lies per week.
Another study conducted in the Journal of Basic and Applied Social Psychology revealed that 60 percent of people can’t go 10 minutes without lying. Here are 7 simple ways to figure out if someone is lying to you.
1. The Devil is in The Details. According to Psychology Today, someone who is lying will leave out specific details. A truth teller will generally include details and tidbits in their stories because that’s how they perceived the situation to be. But a liar will leave our details and provide an incomplete account of an event. This also leads to inconsistencies in their stories as well as a difficulty to retell the story accurately.
2. Poor Eye Contact. Another way to tell if someone is lying is by gauging their eye contact. According to Wendy L. Patrick who is a career prosecutor as well as a behavioral expert: ‘If you are using visual behavior to gauge the credibility of someone you know, you will also have the benefit of a baseline. Some people, for example, will never look you in the eye. For others, every interaction is a stare down.’
Therefore, knowing the person’s baseline can be vital in finding out the truth. If someone is avoiding eye contact, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they are lying.
3. Short emotional outbursts. In a study conducted at Stephen Porter’s Forensic Psychology Lab at Dalhousie University, they found that a liar will have short and quick bursts of true emotion. The study asked participants to intentionally lie and when the researchers tracked the movements on their face they found that these liars would have very minute ‘cracks’ in their lies that would last one-fifth of a second.
Dr. Porter said: ‘If someone is telling a really important lie in which the consequences are dire, say life imprisonment, the lie will be revealed anyway. Because unlike body language, you can’t monitor or completely control what’s going on your face. This research was the first detailed experimental demonstration of the secrets revealed when people put on a “false face,” faking or inhibiting various universal emotions.’
4. Bad memory. According to an article that was published in Psychology Today, they found that liars were more frequent in admitting to having a faulty memory. Truth tellers can generally relay the story with no real difficulties since they are telling the truth, but liars, however, will be more willing and susceptible to giving ‘excuses’ as to why they can’t fully remember the event.
5. Pressed lips. In a meta-analysis that was done by the American Psychological Association, they found that liars were more likely to press their lips together which made their faces look tenser and ‘forced.’
But according to Wendy Patrick, the ‘eye-mouth’ combo is what differentiates a liar from a truth-teller. Someone who is genuinely happy to see you will smile with both their eyes and mouth but a fake expression can be found when the eyes and the mouth don’t match in ‘expression.’
6. Liars are more likely to touch their faces. Roger Strecker Sr., a trained Behavioral Analysis Interviewer/Interrogator with over 30 years of law enforcement experience, says that the touching of the face creates a calming effect on the mind. Noticing minute physical expressions such as those can help in spotting a liar.
He said: ‘Not commonly known, when the human brain is under stress, the brain temperature rises and often is exhibited as perspiration on the forehead or upper lip area of the face. Touching of the face is a ‘pacifier’ and has a calming effect to an otherwise brain under stress. Foot tapping or fidgety hands (when during baseline their hands, legs and feet were benign) should be noted.’
7. People are more likely to lie when they’re under stress. Clinical psychotherapist Jerilee Claydon says: ‘Lies are usually told to gain a connection. A fundamental human quality for survival is to maintain relationships, so if the truth doesn’t appear to be working, we often lie.’
She says that understanding the context of the situation can help decipher the meaning behind the words. Dr. Claydon said: ‘Are they embarrassed, insecure or fearful of revealing the truth? Before calling someone out, question if there’s anything to be gained by doing so’