People lie everyday. Sometimes we lie to make the others feel better, another time to protect our own interests and on occasion we even lie to ourselves. Not telling the truth is simply a part of the human life. Research shows that people lie in about 25% of their daily interactions with others! How to tell a lie from the truth? There are a couple of reasons why lies fail and with the following couple of tricks, you too will be able to catch a liar in his lie.
Why do people lie? There are many reasons for telling a lie and we become aware of that fact from early childhood. Lying about a broken vase can help to protect us from punishment. Sometimes lying about something can protect us from threat or even physical harm. By bragging and exaggerating at a party, we might lie about our capabilities to win the admiration of others~. Now let’s imagine that party is really boring and all you’d rather be doing right now is catching up on the latest episode of Game of Thrones. Lying about being tired and needing to leave early gets you out of an awkward situation, helps you avoid embarrassment and maintain your privacy. Three for the price of one!
How to spot a liar? If lying does have so many benefits for an individual, how can we protect ourselves from being lied to? While recognising that someone is lying is not simple, these next 5 tricks will give you an idea about what to look for the next time you'll want to catch a liar!
1. Look for fluency in story telling It all comes down to thoughts and emotions~. Lying is not about remembering, it is about imaging what happened. That is why not being prepared might leave one searching for the right words, making frequent pauses during speech or failing to remember the story like he or she once said it. An inventive mind with a great memory is the number one dangerous combination to look out for! 2. Notice what is not being said The second part of telling a lie convincingly is a question of emotions. If someone tells they are excited about coming to your fundraising event but do not even smile while they're saying it, chances are they're not telling the truth. It is important that in communication our body gestures and facial expressions match what we are saying verbally.
3. Recognise fear vs. anger Fear and anger are two emotional states, during which we use different facial expressions. That is why lying about being angry can get tricky. Imagine Clara is lying about being angry with Tom. At the same time she feels scared that he might call her out on the lie. With fear the eyebrows move upwards and together. However, with real feelings of anger, they should be pulled down. Clara’s lie is therefore revealed by the mismatch between the facial expression and her emotional state.
4. Study emotions to reveal a liar There is a number of different ways your facial expressions can be in mismatch with your story. A person may be displaying the wrong emotion or may be masking one emotion by another. The timing is also very important. When we are telling the truth our facial expressions do not last for a very long time. When we lie, the time we express a certain emotion is fake and it may last longer than a real emotion normally would. Aside from the fact that our bodies and faces are asymmetrical to begin with, they can get even more asymmetrical with lying! When we lie there is likely to be more activity on one side of the face than another.
5. Dig deeper It comes down to your knowledge of emotions and body language. To tell a lie convincingly, the liar’s story telling must match the way he or she communicates non-verbally. If you want to spot a liar, you’ll have to pay a lot of attention to the smallest details. Asking additional questions about their story is likely to reveal mismatches either within the story itself or the way they express emotions. It’s definitely not an easy task being a human lie detector!
While lying can do a lot of damage and has the power to break trust between people, it also has a number of benefits. It evolved as a way of protecting our relationships and ourselves from physical, mental or social damage. While lying in 25% of our daily interactions might seem like a large number, a 100% honesty in every situation is also not something we would want. Or is it?