On Detecting a Liar – 10 Red Flags and How to Spot Them

On Detecting a Liar – 10 Red Flags and How to Spot Them

MUNICH (MunichNOW Wellness) -- Have you ever fallen prey to the kind and very convincing words of a salesperson "Those jeans look WONDERFUL on you!“ or "This is the last ipod in green on stock, they won’t be back in for awhile..“

At home, you notice you spent far more than you wanted to. The jeans actually sag, the green ipod is half price online. Health & Wellness Editor Therese de Liz gives us the truth on this deceitful topic.

So, why are we so blind to liars? Research shows that the chances of detecting a liar are a mere 54%. Failing to detect a liar may cost us in many ways. Our health - "these vitamins will cure all“, finances - "this is a fail-safe investment“, or even our sanity - "you really gotta believe me on this“. There a millions of lies to a day. Most people don’t even consider that "white lies“ are actually – lies. Lies actually are very practical. They protect us from conflicts with others, they cover up our fears of rejection and embarrassment, and they can elevate our status with others.

With a little practice, you can become more vigilant towards others and protect yourself against these pitfalls. This means recognizing deviations in behavior, attitude, body language, and voice in others. Interestingly, recent studies have proven that detecting lies in our partner, spouse, children, or other significant other prove to be very difficult because close relationships cloud our objectivity.

The most important step in lie perception is to establish a baseline. This is the "truth“ mode a person displays and defines behavior under usual circumstances: tone of voice, laugh, facial expression or body language. "These designer frames really look fashionable" -- photo: dpa

10 typical red flags of lying:

1)    Facial expression: upper face shows little movement; disproportion between upper and lower face, i.e., eye expression does not match smile. The spoken word does not fit the facial expression.

2)    General body language: Self-consoling behavior such as touching neck or face, stretching fingers or wrapping hands in a scarf. Holding a protective object in front of body (coat, coffee mug); Arm-crossing, covering mouth or nose with hand.

3)    Legs: pressed together or crossed

4)    Feet: Tapping or nervous movement; pointing away from subject (unconscious "escape“)

5)    Verbal script: Lying is hard work and needs a detailed script. Often liars include many unnecessary details to prevent having to answer any unplanned questions. The story is inflexible and chronological.

6)    Emphasis on statements: "I did not have a relationship with this woman!“ Truth tellers have no need to emphasize.

7)    Response delay: Asking a question after a question: "Why would I do that?“

8)    Language distancing: Substitution of "I“: "You don’t steal from a store!“

9)    Voice pitch and speed changes

10)  Clearing of throat to expel excess saliva caused by adrenalin In sum, most people are bad at lying. Detecting these red flags takes practice but may be easier than you think. The ability to read people’s expressions will ultimately protect you from mental and physical damage,  save your money and time.

For detailed training information see www.paulekman.com.

"I only have one left in blue". -- photo: dpa