Thursday, December 17, 2009

Become a human LIE detector

As I was sitting in bed watching the TV Show - 'Lie to Me' I started to think about how many times I wish that I had the ability to read someones expressions to determine if they are being untruthful. This is mostly because I seem to have been lied to a lot during my life and in relationships and probably somewhat enjoy the feeling of catching someone out in a lie, even though the truth usually does hurt.

I decided to do some research into the signs, body language & micro expressions that can determine if someone is lying to you and I share them with you in this blog post.

Warning: Sometimes Ignorance is bliss; after gaining this knowledge, you may be hurt when it is obvious that someone is lying to you.


VIDEO with language expert - Judi James

When you're in a marriage or a committed relationship, havent you always wanted to play detective and know exactly when your partner is lying to you? In this youtube feature, body language expert Judi James spills the beans on how you can tell if someone is lying to you.

Here are the signs to watch out for. First, check on the persons body movement. Little or no body movement when combined with an inability to maintain eye contact can signify lying. On the other hand, exaggerated body movements and trying to maintain more eye contact can also mean that your partner is lying.

Remember that lying causes stress so other body movements like swallowing, faster blinking or feet shuffling may mean that your partner is hiding something from you. Replicating the innocence of childhood when a person looks away at the point of lying is also a dead giveaway.

Perhaps one of the most interesting points that the body language expert in the video have is the eyeball movement. This is a way for a person to stimulate part of the brain. When your partner looks to the left, he or she is recording memories which signifies honesty. Looking towards the right is a way to stimulate the imagination, so your partner is most probably lying. Other warning signs to watch out for include the Pinocchio effect when a person touches or scratches the nose when lying and covering the mouth or face.

All in all, the video is extremely helpful for those who would like to learn more about how they can read a persons body language and tell when someone is lying to them or not which are great clues if you want to know if your partner is cheating.


The 7 Common Signs of Lying

1.No eye contact. Generally, if someone is lying they will not look you in the eye, at least during a certain part of the conversation. Normally, people make eye contact for at least half of a conversation, so anything less than this could be suspicious. One caveat: there are some people who will take great pains to make eye contact with you even if they're lying, simply to make you think they're not. They may turn their head or body away.

2. Change in voice. A change in the pitch of a person's tone, or a lot of stammering (umm, ah), or throat clearing could indicate a lie.

3.Unusual body language. If a person taps their foot a lot, fidgets with their hands, raises their shoulders, turns away from you or brings their hand to their face (to touch their chin or nose, etc.) -- in other words, if they act nervous or uncomfortable -- it could mean they're telling a lie. Also watch out for blushing (or becoming pale) and increased blinking.

4.Something sounds fishy. Making statements that contradict each other, are inconsistent or don't sound quite right are usually part of a lie.

5.Overly defensive. Sometimes when a person is lying they will become extremely defensive, refusing to answer any questions and even accusing you of lying. This may mean they have something to hide.

6.Changes subject easily. If someone is lying and you change the subject, chances are high that they'll go right along with it and become more relaxed. A person telling the truth, however, will likely ask why you changed the subject and want to go back to it.

7.Humor or sarcasm. A guilty person will often try to change the subject using humor or sarcasm.

Of course, no one behavior can tell for sure whether or not someone is telling the truth or lying. While you should trust your instinct, if you're not sure it's best to try to get some evidence to back up your accusation. Rather than relying on a specific behavior, catching a liar in the act is best done by watching their normal behaviors. When those behaviors suddenly change, that's when a lie has likely been told.


VIDEO: Micro Expressions - The experiment

What are Micro Expressions?

A micro expression is a momentary involuntary facial expression -- that people unconsciously display when they are hiding an emotion. They are quick & intense expressions of concealed emotion.

The main points to remember are that micro expressions are:

Brief - Micro expressions can appear then disappear off the face in a fraction of a second. In other words micro-expressions occur so quickly, that most people don't even notice them.

Involuntary - A micro expression is caused by involuntary movements in facial muscles. (See the fake-smile diagram). Most people cannot control these involuntary muscles which are affected by their emotions.

Micro Expressions are generally grouped into seven universal emotions:
anger, disgust, fear, sadness, happiness, surprise, and contempt

Tim Roth plays Dr. Cal Lightman, the world’s leading deception expert, on ‘Lie to Me.’ He oversees The Lightman Group, a private agency hired to expose the truth behind the lies.

Below are diagrams of these seven universal micro-expressions as discussed above that Lightman looks for:

Micro Expressions betray us when we lie. We can try to cover our feelings with fake smiles, but involuntary face muscles reveal this hidden emotions. Seeing is easier, watch this short video:

Paul Ekman and his research is the inspiration for the TV series 'Lie to Me'.

Important to remember:

* Micro-expressions can also reveal emotions that are unconscious or only partially related to whatever is being talk about. In other words, just because someone says "that's awesome!" and flashes a brief micro-expression of contempt ... doesn't necessarily mean they are lying about their feelings.... just that there is something about the subject that "bugs" them (and they may not even know it bothers them).

So, you show your friend Sarah a picture of your new dog. She looks at you and says "wow, really cute", but you catch a micro-expression glimpse of "disgust". I believe it would be presumptuous to take this as a sign that Sarah thinks your puppy is ugly. She may have been bit by a dog in the past, and that emotion briefly flashed across her face when she looked at the pic of your dog.


Emotional Gestures & Contradiction

Timing and duration of emotional gestures and emotions are off a normal pace. The display of emotion is delayed, stays longer it would naturally, then stops suddenly.

Timing is off between emotions gestures/expressions and words. Example: Someone says "I love it!" when receiving a gift, and then smile after making that statement, rather then at the same time the statement is made.

Gestures/expressions don’t match the verbal statement, such as frowning when saying “I love you.”

Expressions are limited to mouth movements when someone is faking emotions (like happy, surprised, sad, awe, )instead of the whole face. For example; when someone smiles naturally their whole face is involved: jaw/cheek movement, eyes and forehead push down, etc.



Usually used out of politeness... People who put on a smile only use the muscles around the mouth. But the top half of their face remains virtually unchanged. Their smile is also less likely to be showing their teeth. This smile could mean the person is not telling the whole truth.


A genuine smile involves the whole face including the eyes… More than just the mouth, many facial muscles are in action. The most visible is the tightening around the eyes. This action around the eyes is extremely difficult to fake and is the main signal you want to look at if you think somebody might not be telling you their real feelings.
Do not fake a smile. Research shows that a large majority of people unconsciously recognise the sincerity of your smile simply looking at the top half of your face.

Which face is the forced smile?



The Eyes are called the "window of the soul" for a reason, the eyes don't reveal everything… but they are very expressive!

The way a person looks at someone reveals a lot… and the intensity and direction of their stare can reflect a person's thoughts.

Visual Accessing Cues:

When asked a question a "normally organised" right-handed person looks (from your viewpoint, looking at them):

Up and to the Left
Indicates: Visually Constructed Images (Vc)
If you asked someone to "Imagine a purple buffalo", this would be the direction their eyes moved in while thinking about the question as they "Visually Constructed" a purple buffalo in their mind.

Up and to the Right
Indicates: Visually Remembered Images (Vr)

If you asked someone to "What color was the first house you lived in?", this would be the direction their eyes moved in while thinking about the question as they "Visually Remembered" the color of their childhood home.

To the Left
Indicates: Auditory Constructed (Ac)

If you asked someone to "Try and create the highest the sound of the pitch possible in your head", this would be the direction their eyes moved in while thinking about the question as they "Auditorily Constructed" this this sound that they have never heard of.

To the Right
Indicates: Auditory Remembered (Ar)

If you asked someone to "Remember what their mother's voice sounds like ", this would be the direction their eyes moved in while thinking about the question as they "Auditorily Remembered " this sound.

Down and to the Left
Indicates: Feeling / Kinesthetic (F)
If you asked someone to "Can you remember the smell of a campfire? ", this would be the direction their eyes moved in while thinking about the question as they used recalled a smell, feeling, or taste.

Down and To the Right
Indicates: Auditory Digital / Internal Dialog (Ai)

This is the direction of someone eyes as they "talk to themselves".

Example of how this works: Let's say your child ask's you for a cookie, and you ask them "well, what did your mother say?" As they reply "Mom said... yes." they look to the left. This would indicate a made up answer as their eyes are showing a "constructed image or sound. Looking to the right would indicated a "remembered" voice or image, and thus would be telling the truth.

* Looking straight ahead or with eyes that are defocused/unmoving is also considered a sign of visual accessing.

* A typical left-handed person would have the opposite meanings for their eye-directions.

* As with other signs of lying, you should first establish and understand a persons base-behavior before concluding they are lying by the direction of their eyes.

What Can Their Pupils Reveal?

- Wet eyes
--> crying, painful memory, emotional

Excessive blinking
--> showing romantic interest (if their pupil is dilated)
--> sign of stress
--> could be lying

Enlarged pupils
--> if in broad light, the person is either experiencing deep satisfaction, or is interested in you
--> in darker environments, it is a natural physical reaction

Widened pupils / eyes
--> seeing something pleasant - this a sign professional poker players look out for as a giveaway that another player may have a good hand…




- Hiding their hands
--> not inclined to communicate
--> secretive, possibly lying

- Touching your face while kissing
--> genuine romantic interest, slow seduction

- Open hand wave
--> inviting, welcoming

- Thumbs
--> superiority
When someone has their hands are in the pockets, leaving the thumbs out, it shows confidence, they probably feel superior.


- By the side and away from the body
--> confident, strong

Closed, crossed
--> uninviting
--> protective


- Crossed over the knee or at the ankle
--> relaxed, but not completetly at ease

Ankle crossing over the knee (mainly men)

--> confidence, arrogance or assertiveness


VIDEO: How to Read Body Language : How to Tell if Someone is Lying with Body Language

Learn how to tell if someone is lying by their body language and how to read other body language in this free video on body language communication skills. Expert: Michelle Roth Bio: Dr. Michelle Roth is licensed Psychologist and relationship expert. Filmmaker: Nili Nathan


Other Signs a Person is lying

• A liar might unconsciously place objects (book, coffee cup, etc.) between themselves and you.

• A liar will use your words to make answer a question. When asked, “Did you eat the last cookie?” The liar answers, “No, I did not eat the last cookie.”

•A statement with a contraction is more likely to be truthful: “ I didn't do it” instead of “I did not do it”

• Liars sometimes avoid "lying" by not making direct statements. They imply answers instead of denying something directly.

• The guilty person may speak more than natural, adding unnecessary details to convince you... they are not comfortable with silence or pauses in the conversation.

• A liar may leave out pronouns and speak in a monotonous tone. When a truthful statement is made the pronoun is emphasized as much or more than the rest of the words in a statement.

• Words may be garbled and spoken softly, and syntax and grammar may be off. In other
words, his sentences will likely be muddled rather than emphasized.



* Look for signs that could prove that you’re wrong rather than the person is wrong. You play the “devil’s advocate” if you will. In fact, research shows that you’re more likely to correctly detect honesty than lies.

* Dishonest people who try to use body language to manipulate or cheat others usualy fail. Because their own uncontrollable body language signals give them away at some point and anyone easily catches their game.

On the other hand, if you are honest, trustworthy, and respectful, your in-depth understanding of body language naturally makes you a confident and influential communicator - who can easily connect with people at a deep level.



How To Detect Lies

Micro Expressions & Lying

Eye Movement & Lying

Body Language Signals


coming soon : Body Language - The Signs of Attraction

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