Home Science How Can You Tell If Someone Is Lying to You?

Can you recognize falsehood in anyone’s behavior or words? How many times you wished you had known how to read the signs of dishonesty? Whether you are a body language expert or not, this post will show you how to smell a liar in 3 steps. ‘How can you tell if someone is lying?’ will no longer be a mystery for you once you get to understand the mindset of such person.

Learn more about the most common lying detection techniques used by federal agents, psychologists and other kinds of investigators. Prevent being deceived, cheated or even defrauded.

Most lie detection experts take into consideration a series of body language signs and other signals until making a guess on whether someone says or hides the truth. Let’s have a look at the most common tricks one can use to test if someone is being honest or not.

#1. Watch the Body Language of Your Subject

Look ‘at’ His/ Her Eyes

You cannot read someone’s mind, but you can tell if someone conceals the truth by observing his or her body language, and especially the eyes.  Most liars find it difficult to establish eye contact.

Observe Micro Expressions

As defined by Paul Ekman, pre-eminent psychologist and expert in nonverbal behavior, micro expressions are brief facial glimpses that last only a fraction of a second. These are truly revealing if you know how to interpret them.

How can these facial signs indicate if someone is lying to you? Well, everyone who watched the famous ‘Lye to Me’ TV Series can guess how. If you hear someone talking enthusiastically about something but you observe a slight pulling down of his or her lips corners, for instance, this may mean the exact opposite of what is verbally conveyed.

Have a look at the micro expressions description below to see how these glimpses can make a liar’s mask slip off.

how to tell if someone is lying chart

For a more in-depth look at how micro expressions betray people when they lie, check out this interesting article on Blifaloo.

Other Non-Verbal Tell-Tale Signs of Lying

Another common sign is liars’ attempt to cover their mouth or nervously touch their face in an unconscious effort to hide their action.

#2. Pay Close Attention to Their Story

Spot the Inconsistencies

In a report resuming a study conducted about compulsive lying, psychology professor Adrian Raine declared: “We looked for things like inconsistencies in their stories about occupation, education, crimes and family background”. People lying have a tendency towards not being consistent in what they say. So the trick is to be attentive at the sequence of things they talk about.

Too many details?

Apart from inconsistencies, too many details may be a sign of plotting an untruthful story too. Sometimes people hiding the truth avoid denying something directly, making up answers that have little to do with the subject of your question. That is why they tend to add many details so to avoid any uncomfortable pauses.

Observe their Language

You can determine if someone is lying by the words they tend to use as well. Most commonly, someone who’s not being honest will use your words to answer a questions. How many times you’ve asked your kid: ‘Did you eat your lunch?’ and the answer was: ‘Yes, I ate my lunch’?

Also, it appears that rapid, direct statements are more likely to be truthful than complex statements. For instance ‘I haven’t’ is considered more spontaneous and thus more honest than ‘No, I have not…’.

The tone of an assumed liar can also be a tell-tale sign of hiding the truth. According to experts in statement analysis, truthful statement are more emphasized in speech. It is all about the difference between a natural and monotonous tone.

Ask Unexpected Questions

Another trick to catch a liar in action is ask him or her the same question more than twice to see if you receive the same answer. Normally, someone lying forgets what he or she previously said.

Changing the subject of the conversation is another useful trick. Someone lying will be thrilled by not being confronted anymore with his guilty statements. Often they would use anything to distract you as well, like a joke or sarcasm.

Make Them Retell the Story Backwards

According to psychologists, people can only retell real stories and recall real events in a chronological order. That is why most liars will be unable to reverse the timeline of the same story. This is a well-known trick and one of the most efficient. How can you tell if someone is lying? Just make them retell everything backwards.

#3. Observe Their Attitude

Is There a Change in Behavior?

The most difficult thing for a liar is to control his or her emotions. Fake emotions and inexpressive faces as compared with what and how they speak are the tell-tale signs of such a behavior.

Can You Feel an Abnormal Nervousness?

People hiding something tend to be quite defensive. Here are some indicators of such habit:

  • Shifting from one foot to another.
  • Turning their head away so to avoid eye contact.
  • Place objects between you and them.

Of course, there are many other signals you can spot at people who are guilty of lying. The reverse is valid as well: some of the signs mentioned above can be encountered at people who are honest, but nervous in your presence. All these aspects should be compared to how a person normally and naturally is and reacts on a daily basis.

Also, once you identify a liar, try not to be very judgemental. Some lie to attract attention, but others suffer from what is called ‘compulsive lying’, which is a serious medical condition. Pathological lying is grounded or closely connected with other conditions as well like alcoholism, drug addiction or anorexia. There are liars who thus need guidance and help, rather than critics.

I hope my post answered to ‘how can you tell if someone is lying’. For any questions or comments you make have, please don’y hesitate to leave me a message in the comment section below. Thanks!

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Jackie Cuban

Psychology graduate and mother of two, I am an enthusiastic blogger, with a great passion for healthy cuisine (chocolate is a vegetable, right?) and homemade solutions. So, apart from being a full time mother, I write and find joy in handmade crafting. My life is my inspiration, I might say, as I usually get inspiration from everything happening around me. My two kids, Annabelle and Will, are my greatest achievements and, I have to admit, the most inspirational people I know. Seeing life through a child’s eyes is more interesting than you imagine. I do not have the surprising answers to life’s difficult questions, but you might find the answers to a few very surprising questions.


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