Is he lying?

» Posted on Oct 15, 2006 in Blog | Comments Off on Is he lying?

I have taken a course in how to tell if a person is lying. As a writer I think this is a fantastic topic, and as a teacher it would be nice to know this. I recently read an article on the subject which I will summarize here. The article was titled 10 Ways to Catch a Liar by Heather Hatfield (on AOL’s WebMD).

1. Look for contradictions in what a person is saying and how he is acting. If someone does something that wouldn’t be logical in a certain situation, it very likely isn’t the truth.
2. Surprise the person with a question he wouldn’t expect, then note his reaction.
3. Look for a change in the person’s behavior–example, a nervous person acting calm.
4. Look for deceptive emotions like a fake smile (hard to maintain).
5. Listen to your instinct. Usually people don’t even realize that they are picking up on subtle actions and expressions from others that tells them something is wrong.
6. Look for a fleeting expression that happens in a microsecond. A person has to train himself to be able to do this. (refer back to number five)
7. Look for a person saying one thing and his expression or gesture is contradicting what he says.
8. Not making eye contact–a person making you feel uneasy.
9. Look for someone giving you too many details in a story.
10.Decide when the person is telling the truth in his story and when he is lying. Try to figure out why he is lying.

To figure out if a person is lying, you usually have to know the person well or understand people well. Maureen O’Sullivan, PhD, a professor of psychology at the University of San Francisco says it best, “You can see a microexpression, but you have to have more social-emotional intelligence on people to use it accurately. You have to be a good judge of people to understand what it means.”