It’s not always simple to discern when someone is lying.
And, regrettably, there is no foolproof way to tell if someone is being completely honest.
However, there are certain blatant indicators that someone may be lying. For a list of warning signals, continue reading.
How can you know when someone is telling the truth?
It’s complicated, I guess.
Research by Dr. Leanne ten Brinke, a forensic psychologist at the University of California, Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, and her colleagues reveals that while our conscious thoughts can occasionally mislead us, our instincts for recognizing liars are actually very powerful.
Fortunately, there are cues we can seek for to tell if someone is lying.
Dr. Lillian Glass, a behavioral analyst, body language specialist, and author of “The Body Language of Liars,” advised that in order to determine whether someone is lying, you must first comprehend how they typically behave. Some behaviors, such as pointing or sharing excessively, may be quite normal for a particular person.
Remember that these indications of dishonesty are only speculative and not conclusive. Additionally, some experienced liars may get away with not displaying any of these indications.
Following are some indicators that someone might be telling you the truth:
1. Those who are lying frequently adjust their head positions
When you directly question someone, watch for any rapid head movements to see if they are telling the truth.
“The head will be retracted or jerked back, bowed down, or cocked or tilted to the side,” predicted Glass.
This frequently occurs just before the subject is required to give a response to a question.
2. Their breathing might alter.
According to Glass, when someone is lying to you, they might start to breathe heavily. It is a reflexive response.
She continued, “Their shoulders will raise, and their speech may become shallow, as their breathing shifts. Since their heart rate and blood flow vary, individuals are essentially out of breath. When you lie, when you’re anxious and uptight, your body goes through these kinds of alterations.
3. They frequently remain quite still.
Although it’s well-known that individuals squirm when they’re anxious, Glass advised that you should also keep an eye out for those who are completely still.
As the body positions and prepares itself for potential conflict, Glass suggested that this might be a symptom of the basic neuronal “fight” reaction as opposed to the “flight” response. “It is typical to move your body in subtle, loose, and, for the most part, unconscious movements when you speak and engage in normal conversation. Therefore, if you see someone standing in a rigid, catatonic manner without moving, it is usually a significant red flag that something is wrong.
4. They might recite phrases or words.
She claims that they are doing this in an effort to persuade you and themselves of something. They are attempting to support the untruth they have been told. He or she might repeatedly state, “I didn’t…I didn’t…” as an illustration, according to Glass.
She stated that they use repetition to buy themselves some time as they try to collect their thoughts.
5. They might offer you too much information
“There is a very high probability that he or she is not telling you the truth,” stated Glass. “When someone goes on and on and gives you too much information—information that is not requested and especially an excess of details.” “Liars frequently talk a lot because they hope that others will believe them because of all their talking and seeming openness.”
6. They could cover their lips or touch it.
When someone doesn’t want to deal with a problem or respond to a question, they automatically cover their mouth, according to Glass, which is a telltale sign of lying.
She asserts that when grownups cover their lips, it indicates they aren’t saying everything and simply don’t want to be honest. They are obstructing communication literally.
7. They frequently conceal vulnerable body parts out of instinct.
This may apply to the throat, chest, head, or abdomen, among other places.
As an attorney consultant, I frequently witness this in courtrooms. When I observe the defendant’s hand covering his or her throat, I know the witness’ evidence has hit a nerve with the defendant, according to Glass.
They frequently shuffling their feet.
“This is the body taking over,” Glass said. You may tell that a potential liar is uneasy and anxious by their shuffling feet. It also conveys to you the individual’s desire to move away from the predicament, she claims.
This is one of the most effective techniques to spot a liar. All you need to do is stare at their feet to learn a lot.
9. Speaking may become challenging for them.
You will frequently see that she finds it harder and harder to speak when you watch the videotaped interrogation of a person who is guilty, wrote Glass. This happens because the autonomic neurological system reduces salivary flow when under stress, which naturally dries up the mouth’s mucous membranes.
Sudden lip-biting or pursed lips are additional warning indications.
10. They might not blink much when they look at you.
Although it’s usual for people to break eye contact when lying, the liar could go above and above to keep eye contact in an effort to manipulate and control you.
Most people will occasionally adjust their gaze or even briefly turn away when speaking the truth, according to Glass. The icy, unwavering look of a liar, on the other hand, is used to intimidate and control.
Another warning indication is fast blinking.
11. They frequently point.
According to Glass, when a liar acts aggressive or defensive, he is attempting to turn the tables on you.
A liar may make angry movements, like pointing, if confronted with a lie.
An earlier version of this story included contributions from Jacquelyn Smith and Vivian Giang.