Monday, August 30, 2010
by Reader's Digest Magazine, on Thu Aug 12, 2010 11:49am PDT
Are you being lied to? Find out how you can tell.
How is the person speaking?
Although a change in voice can be the tip-off to a lie, experts say that to be sure, you should also pay attention to a person's speech rate and breathing pattern -- if either speeds up or slows down, chances are you're not hearing the whole truth.
What is the person saying?
Liars tend to avoid exclusionary words like "but," "nor," "except," and "whereas," because they have trouble with complex thought processes. Liars are less likely to use the words "I," "me," and "mine." In their attempts to distance themselves psychologically from their tall tales, liars will tend to communicate using fewer personal pronouns.
Is his face giving it away?
You may think disguising your true feelings is easily accomplished with the help of a smile, but the expressions that flash across your face will give away what you're really thinking -- whether you know it or not. Experts advise paying close attention to the micro-expressions that a face can't hide. These clues are often so difficult to detect that even trained experts have trouble discerning them.
How is the person smiling?
A smile can sometimes mask a person's true feelings. Pay close attention to how a person smiles as well as other facial movements. You may be able to detect the emotions he or she is trying to hide -- such as fear, anger, and disgust. A true smile will incorporate both a person's lips and eyes.
Does the body language follow the story?
It's more important to examine a person's entire demeanor, as there's no one feature that's apt to give away a liar. Honesty is characterized by features that are in sync with one another -- so besides posture, note the fit between face, body, voice, and speech.
Is your subject behaving uncharacteristically?
Experts believe changes in a person's baseline -- how she generally conducts herself -- are worthy of your attention. You should weigh rate of speech, tone of voice, posture, and hand gestures against what you know, along with the context of the situation.
Is the question simple or embarrassing?
It's normal for someone to look away when asked a difficult question. But when someone avoids your gaze when asked a simple question, you should be suspicious.