They say that you can see when someone is lying to you when they avoid eye-contact. They also say that one can see when someone is lying just by the way they fidget around.
In some instances it would be great to have a Pinocchio’s nose. Unfortunately we do not possess such a betrayer of self. Do you think having a signal indicative of deceit would help liars such as you and I stop with deceitful acts? Yes I am calling you a liar.
According to researchers and scientist studying deceit, humans are being lied to as many as 200 times per day[JP1] . It no secret that a lot of these lies we hear from politicians, salesmen, your wife, your husband and your children to mentioned but a few sources. Sometimes we also lie to ourselves.
Lies do fail
Lies, however skilfully concocted do fail. It fails for different reasons. The truth often reveals itself when the innocent party finds proof of a contradictory story. Another reason why lies fail is because liars cannot foresee each and every situation where he/she needs to come up with a new line.
Another reason why lies fail according to Dr Paul Ekman’s book Telling lies is when a person’s emotions gets in the way. The lair lies about an emotion. Wife to husband: “Hunny did you enjoy this movie?” Husband says: “Yes it was lovely” while he is still busy nibbling at his wrists.
The fear of getting caught according to Dr Paul Ekman is yet another way that lies can fail. You walk into your teenage son’s bedroom and after some scuffling he manages to switch off Etv’s beloved Emmanuelle. Caught in the act but he strives forward with an attempt to lie. After some time he confess and the fear of getting caught just caught up with him.
Detecting Deceit through non-verbal communication
Do not continue to read if you do not want to see when someone is displaying signs of deceit.
We said in the beginning. There is no Pinocchio’s nose or any other signals that shows you someone is lying. However, when you look closely you will be able to see non-verbal communication signals that can help you to spot areas of concern. Now I say areas of concern because these signals ARE NOT SIGNS OF DECEIT.
They are mere signs that someone is in distress or incongruent with what they are saying. Let’s make an example. If someone say he is ecstatic but the body language shows droopy shoulders, bleak eyebrows, closed off by using arms then you can see that the body language contradict the words. Now I agree that example is far-fetched but I can assure you that when you are aware of these things you see it pop up everywhere.
Non-verbal communication makes up around 97% of all communication. I am sure that if something is that important you would like to know more about it and use it to your advantage.
Also it can help you to get to the truth. And the truth does set you free, doesn’t it?
So, what are these behaviours that we need to look out for? What can we spot when we look at the face, upper body, arms, hands, waist, legs and voice?
All these questions and more will be answered in my next set of articles.
Telling Lies - Paul Ekman