One of the most interesting TV series being aired right now is the show Lie To Me. The show is about Dr. Cal Lightman, played by actor Tim Roth, who is an expert in determining if a person is lying by studying so-called microexpressions.
Just imagine having the ability to know if a person is lying to you. The benefits are endless. You may not become as good as Dr. Lightman in telling whether a person is lying or not but there are certain things you can look for. Here are some of them.
One of the first steps you should take if you want to find out if a person is lying to you is to determine the person’s motivations for lying. What are the consequences if he tells the truth? And what would be your possible reactions if this person tells you the truth? Is he afraid of punishment or sanctions? Is he bound to lose something if he tells the truth? Or maybe he is afraid that by telling the truth he completely loses your trust?
Having thought about the questions raised above, it’s time to look for the tell-tale signs of lying.
One of the things you should pay attention to is the person’s cadence and how he talks. By determining his usual habits when talking you establish what is called a baseline behavior, which is his default behavior if he is not stressed or pressured. Variations on this baseline behavior will help you find out if he is lying.
Now try to observe how his behavior changes when he is stressed or under pressure. Usually a person’s behavior when under pressure and when he is lying is generally the same because lying is considered a stressful event. Observing his behavior under pressure will give you an idea on how he will behave when he lies.
You can also look for what are called ‘tells’ – actions or gestures that are associated with lying. These include:
* Freezing. A person who lies will sometimes limit his body movement. He will avoid facing the person he’s talking to. On the other hand, a person who will try to fight the urge to freeze will become overly dramatic in his movements.
* No eye contact. The person who is lying will avoid looking at your directly. There are times the person will only look away at the moment the lie is told – he will glance to the right or to the floor for a brief moment while telling the lie.
* Stress-induced mannerisms. This include rapid blinking, swallowing, getting fidgety or scratching. Lying is an uncomfortable action and this is manifested immediately in the person who is lying because he will feel physically uncomfortable as well.
* looking to the right. The right side of the brain is associated with imagination. Since lying is an act of imagination, the lying person will instinctively look to the right and up. A person who is trying to recall a memory, on the other hand, will usually look to the left.
Photo from onlinespyshop.co.uk