Lying. I believe that if people could learn one communication skill they would want to know how to instantly tell whether somebody is lying or not. And funny enough, most people also want that one magic thing that is going to immediately let them know that somebody is lying, the same way people want the one magic line that will get them any girl, the one magic line that will get them anyjob…and the list goes on.
I would like to emphasize once and for all that if this was the case…if there was one line that would get you any job, there would be no such thing as the unemployed. But in today’s economy we see that it’s obviously not true.
However, my dearest friends, while there is no one way to tell whether somebody is lying, there are many indications that we are going to learn about in this article and when you put everything together, you can become a human lie detector! So with that said, lets jump right into it!
Establishing a Baseline
With every little trick in the book people forget one very basic precept, people are different! (This is called the Hawthorn Error, forgetting that different people do different things while lying). Therefore, while most people do in fact adhere to these guidelines we shall lay down you still have to realize the differences within people.
Allow me, my ill informed comrades, to give you a great example and also, to give away one of my trade secrets. I have a unique ability to tell when a girl is taken and when she is available, and this is again based on psychology. I am about to give this secret to you, get pumped: (This works for guys also ladies, it just happens to be that whether a guy is available or not isn’t particularly a concern of mine.)
When we walk into a room we as humans automatically look for two things:
- The attractive opposite sex people in the room
So that is an automatic baseline that you can apply to everyone. For instance, most people when they walk into a room:
- Will primp their hair.
- Smooth their dresses.
- Puff out their chest.
- Head for the bar. (since they are comfortable there.)
- Scan the room.
- Check out opposite sex attractive people.
If people are deviating from this baseline at all it means that there is are circumstances that are changing their natural behavior (ie. Psychological reasons.) So if I see a woman who is not only not doing the things I mentioned above but is also in a bad mood, I can deduce that she has had either a fight with her boyfriend or has just broken up and therefore if you try to talk to her she will bite your head off.
If she is not scanning the room looking for a mate it means she is taken and no longer has to look for a mate, so it deviates from this baseline.
So now we are going to apply this to lying! Have you ever taken a polygraph test? The second you sit down they automatically ask you something called “Control Questions”. For instance, “What’s your name?”, “Where were you born?” questions that they can verify. What happens is they monitor your vitals.
WHEN YOU LIE SEVERAL THINGS INTERNALLY HAPPEN: PUPILS DILATE, PULSE QUICKENS.
So a polygraph test basically picks up when your body deviates from the baseline that the control questions established!
(So a great way of beating a polygraph test is to put a little tack in your shoe and at the beginning when they ask you the control questions, step down on the tack- this will automatically up your pulse rate, so later when you are lying and your pulse is high, they will assume that you aren’t lying and that you are just naturally nervous! This was the trick they did in Oceans Thirteen, but it’s an old trick lol. Cool no? Now you can rob banks and get away with it. Glad I am adding something to the world.
(Another way is to learn to believe your own lies…but that’s for another article).
So now, let’s talk about how to establish a baseline for somebody’s behavior.
Professional online poker players will routinely lose the first few hands so that way they can learn when their opponent is telling the truth or not. Since them losing forces the other person to show their cards, the skilled poker player is able to tell what the person’s baseline is when he is winning, and therefore later in the day when there is a deviation from that earlier baseline, he knows that his opponent is bluffing. This is called, forcing a baseline.
So when you are speaking with somebody, ask them questions that they have no reason to lie about. For instance, “What color was your first house?” and then watch their response. Ask several questions like this and it is establishing a baseline.
Try this trick: Tell somebody to think of three thoughts, 2 of the thoughts are going to be true and the other two are going to be false.
Now have them think about thought 1, thought 2 and thought 3… here is the trick: watch the eyes. Two times the eyes are going to go in one direction (the two true facts) and a third time the eyes will go in a different direction (the lie.) This is actually a really cute parlor trick once you have gotten the hang of it.
We will discuss this a bit more when we get into Eye Accessing Cues during Lying.
Another example is if a person is shaking their leg and then stops shaking it when they start telling you something, that is a deviation from the baseline and it is a good guess that they are lying. (this is a pretty popular one by the way.)
Quick Tricks to Telling Lies
Alright, here we go. There are some very quick ways to telling when somebody is fibbing or not. (I like the word fibbing. Don’t know why, sounds more fun don’t you agree?). So yes, fibbing.
So here we go, put a lot of these together and you will become a pretty good lie detector (combined with the other articles we have on telling lies!)
1. Touching the mouth, lips, ear, or nose.
When we are children and we tell a fib, we unconsciously send our hands to cover up our mouths. Which is why when a child is lying they will clamp their hands over their mouths, they realize that something evil is coming out of their mouth and they try to stop it.
However, as we get older we learn to control our hand movements. So that’s why a teenager when they are lying will sometimes rub their lips, grownups tend to touch their nose (called The Pinocchio Effect,) tug on their ear’s etc… Actually Johnny Depp happens to have a great tell that every time he is lying he itches his ear by slightly hitting it from the back. (Picked that up when I watched an interview with him…I later found out from a friend that works with him that he had been lying in the interview.)
2. Keeping eye contact
This is an interesting one. Many people believe that when we lie we actually break eye contact. But this is simply not true. Ask somebody what color their house is and watch as their eyes flit around searching for the necessary information. But when somebody lies, they have no reason to go looking for that information within their brains and will therefore hold eye contact.
Now, I would like to point how hard telling lies is. Some people, when they are lying will have different eye movements, (which I will get into in another article called, “Lying and Eye Accessing Cues” I am very original at coming up with names for my articles). Some people, will break eye contact, other people won’t. That’s why it is so important to establish a baseline!
3. Not making facial expressions
Think of a crooked car salesman. What comes to mind? Probably a guy in a tweed jacket with a big smile on his face. The truth is that we believe that somebody with a big smile on their face is lying when really the opposite is true! When we lie, we make as little facial expressions as possible since we don’t want to give away any possible indication to the person we are talking with that we are lying.
And here is the funny part. If you are actually lying to somebody, don’t make any facial expressions! Since we make the mistake of thinking that somebody who is lying is going to put on a big smile.
4. Excessive blinking
The amount that we blink is an indication of how much stress we are under. This is why when you are tired you tend to blink a lot, and it is the same thing when you are lying. You end up blinking a lot which is an indication of higher pulse rates.
Those are some quick tips that will allow you to start being able to tell whether somebody is telling the truth or not. In later articles we will be talking about eye accessing cues, telling through language, telling whether a story is true or not, explaining concepts such as leakage, facial expressions, and microexpressions. Basically everything you need so you are never lied to again!