How to easily spot a liar

We’ve all been lied to. No doubts about that, and at one point or the other you may have also been there, done that or still doing it. But don’t worry, this isn’t about you.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we never lied to people who trusted us?

Of course, whatever we do comes back to us. Jean-Jacques Rousseau reminds us that we can’t teach children the danger of telling lies to men without realizing, on the man’s part, the danger of telling lies to children.

A single untruth on the part of the master, he said, will destroy the results of his education, and probably self-respect.

Permit yourself to lie once and you’ll find it easier the second time. The same goes for cheating and even murder. The first time is the hardest. What follows becomes a habit.

In the words of Sir Walter Scott: “Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive!”

For every one reason we have to tell a lie, there are ten other reasons to tell the truth.

Trust takes years to build, a second to break, and forever to repair. Something every liar already knows. It’s a pity they just don’t care, any ways.

The world would be a better place if people put themselves in others’ shoes before breaking their hearts, lying to them, stabbing them in the back, making them suffer or cry, and keeping secrets from them.

Most things in the world aren’t fair, including love and trust.

While it’ll be right to give everyone a bit of the benefit of the doubt, there are a few ways we can spot pathological liars.

A group of researchers around the world have carried out painstaking studies from video and audio clips recorded in courts as well as interrogation rooms. They also listened to testimonies and conducted interviews to arrive at some conclusive statements.

According to the findings, most liars have an increased pupil size and a higher pitched. Other signs include loss of concentration and restlessness.

Researchers from the University of California –Bella dePaulo and Wendy Morris – summarized their findings on deception, saying:

  • Liars tend to repeat words and phrases more frequently than truth-tellers.
  • They press their lips together.
  • Surprisingly, in contrast to the belief shared by many people, they added that lairs don’t blink more than truth-tellers, also insisting that most liars remain as composed as ever.

Another researcher from UCLA, Edward Geiselman, gave a clue on how we can spot liars. He said: “Liars engage in more self-grooming behaviors while lying – for example, playing with their hair or fingernails; often repeat a question before answering, presumably to buy time to compose a convincing lie.

“They also insist on justifying their answers more often than do truth-tellers.”

Rada Mihalcea and her group of researchers at the University of Michigan confirmed they studied lots of video recordings from some high profile court cases, and guess what? They made some shocking discoveries.

Contrary to what you’d expect, the researchers said, “Liars make more direct eye contact with their interrogators than truth-tellers do.”

However, Mihalcea and her colleagues added that liars tend to use hand gestures and facial expression more often that truth-tellers.

Pathological liars also use more vocal fillers such as “ah” and “um” in their speech, especially when answering direct questions.

On a general note, liars are always inconsistent in their stories because it takes a very sharp memory to remember details of a fabricated lie for a long time.

Truth-tellers won’t have to memorize stories. If it’s true, the incident leaves a picture in our minds for a long time – if not forever.

“When you want to know if someone is lying, look for inconsistencies in what they are saying,” Newberry, a federal agent with 30 year experience, said in a statement.

Catching a liar isn’t a thing for the authorities only, but it takes an extensive training. One thing we know for sure is, the signs are always there for those who know how to read them.

“About 4% of people are accomplished liars and they can do it well,” says Newberry, who also worked as a police officer for 5 years. “But because there are no Pinocchio responses to a lie, you have to catch them in it.

“Watch them carefully,” says the officer. “And then when they don’t expect it, ask them one question that they are not prepared to answer to trip them up.”

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