• Fri, Apr 6 2007

How To: Recognize A Liar’s Body Language

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Getting lied to, and then buying into it, is almost always a bad thing. (Sometimes it’s life and death.) Really good liars are everywhere, but they can’t control what they don’t know they’re doing. Here’s some stuff that most people will automatically do when weaving a yarn.

  1. If the liar actually believes they are lying, and that it is wrong, then watch for negative self evaluation gestures. These are usually touching of the nose or ears. Yes it sounds silly. Yes, we almost all do it. No, we don’t realize it.
  2. Eye contact almost always weakens during the actually telling of the lie. Except if someone’s doing that “look in my eyes and tell me” thing. In which case eye contact is mandatory.
  3. Most liars tell lies “palms down”. It’s a subconscious move that is defensive and deceptive. Showing someone your palms makes you feel vulnerable.
  4. Most liars are also slouchers. Our backs naturally straighten when we are proud and confident. Liars faking confidence, are rarely either.
  5. Humans eyes generally move up and to left if their brain is doing visual or audio construction. They will generally move to the upper right when doing recall. Just remember: Liars go Left, the Righteous go Right.

None of these mannerisms on their own is a solid lock. But if you get someone presenting 3 or 4 of them, they’re selling you something you shouldn’t be buying.

Now go ask your room mate about that porn.

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  • smashingtool

    Sorry about the confusion but when you say “Humans eyes generally move up and to left if their brain is doing visual or audio construction. They will generally move to the upper right when doing recall”, do you mean left/right as per the liars perspective, or my owm?

  • http://whitterer-autism.blogspot.com mcewen

    Interesting – I’ve just been reading up on how people read facial expressions and body language. Best wishes

  • Wade Meredith (Ed.)

    The eye movement directions are referring to the liar’s POV.

  • prawnsforlunch

    The term “liar” is a bit absolute and has connitations of malice, which may not be accurate.

    Keep in mind that frequent liars may have motivation beyond destructiveness, for example they might by depressed are might have social anxieties that they cant express in social situations.

    Also on a side note about body language- the rules of body language are guildlines and the motivations for it are harder to figure out than the “what this body sign means” statements are.

    So Wade Meredith said it well. The liar may feel they are lying by having come to a room filled with people, or something even more difficult to figure out.

  • WouldBeDaedalus

    Good point. Another possibility is the person doesn’t want to tell his wife she’s getting a wee bit on the heavy side lest he lose bedding rights :)

  • foleymon

    Something you should know before you trust the ‘eye’ signals is what hand is the persons dominant hand as this will change the direction that the eyes will move. The article is taking into account only right hand dominant people.

  • http://www.sdeviations.blogspot.com/ Carma B

    This is some pretty good stuff. I wrote an article about the other side (how to lie). Check it out…
    http://www.sdeviations.blogspot.com/
    Some of the tips match up.

  • http://www.sdeviations.blogspot.com Carma B

    Regard the above note, here’s the permanent link to that article: http://sdeviations.blogspot.com/2007/08/how-to-lie-about-almost-anything.html

    the link in the previous post will take you to my main page.

  • Charlie

    um.. what if theyve read something like this? cos i know im going to make full use if i ever have to lie

  • Justice

    i am autistic (high functioning) and although i am right hand dominant, i still flick my eyes to my left when recalling information, and usually to my right when i am frustrated or upset. i wonder if autism could play a factor in this, if so, then it would be a bit harder to detect some people’s body signals of lying or not.

  • http://www.sdeviations.blogspot.com Carma B

    Hi Justice,
    You’re looking left is still consistent with this article. You look to your left. The person standing in front of you and looking at you will say your eyes are moving to their right. You’re observation of looking right when you’re frustrated is very interesting. I don’t, however, think that autism played any role in this. I still think that body signals speak louder and clearer than anything.

  • http://www.standeviations.blogspot.com Carma B

    I’m not trying to spam this wall, but this is a great incoming link for me. I want you all to know that my new URL to the article is:

    http://sdeviations.blogspot.com/2007/08/how-to-lie-about-almost-anything.html

    This article will (hopefully) teach you how to lie to someone and not get caught.

  • http://www.standeviations.blogspot.com Carma B

    I’m not trying to spam this wall, but this is a great incoming link for me. I want you all to know that my new URL to the article is:

    http://standeviations.blogspot.com/2007/08/how-to-lie-about-almost-anything.html

    This article will (hopefully) teach you how to lie to someone and not get caught.

  • Hmm…

    Only responding the the claim that people look to the left when being crafty, and to the right when being honest.

    I always look to the left regardless of what I’m thinking about. If I’m recalling something, I look to the left. If I’m solving a problem, I look to the left. Yes, even when I’m lying I look to the left. But the same holds true when I’m being honest.

    It’s cute that some people think they’ve beat the system, but they’re only being a hypocrite. These tips are nothing but lies themselves.

  • MonkWren

    Mmmm, bullshit psychology/psychosomatic symptoms.

  • Recktum

    What are some medical reasons for pathological lying? If any What are some treatments as far as medically that can be administered. I’m asking this as a reference to a college paper. Thanks.

  • mE

    Yep, just got through watching a crewman on the MAERSK talking about how brave he was acting when the Somali COAST GUARD (NOT pirates) came aboard. He was looking to the left constantly.

    Ha!

    Lying bastards, tell them WHY the MAERSK was there in the first place.