Spotting Lies

By Zion Loo

Everyone lies. In fact, people lie a lot more than you would probably guess. People lie to deceive, but people also lie to protect. People lie to conceal, but people also lie for any kind of harmless convenience on a daily basis without realizing it. In fact, according to a TED talk by Pamela Meyer, author of the book Liespotting, you and I hear somewhere around 10 to 200 lies a day. So if we are lied to this often, how can we learn to spot a lie when we see one?

First, something that might be worth noting, is that the idea that someone won’t look you in the eye when lying is not entirely accurate. In fact, some liars will stare you in the eye a little too much because of this myth. Speaking of eyes, you can sometimes tell whether they are lying or not by seeing if their eyes match the rest of their expression. If a person smiles when speaking, see if their eyes have smiled too or if they are the exact same as they were before they smiled. If nothing has changed, this is most likely an indicator of deception.

Now for some reading between the lines. Ask yes or no questions. If the suspect does not give a clear answer, rambles on about irrelevant details, and/or avoids the question somehow, ask them to give it to you straight. This will probably make a liar uncomfortable. Rambling could be a result of stalling, coming up with the perfect excuse, or nervousness.

If someone responds to a yes or no question with anger, perhaps offended that you would ever accuse them of whatever it may be, this is a clear indicator of lying. If someone responds with sympathy, supposedly in complete understanding of your frustrating situation, he or she may merely be trying to win you over.

These signs, you should note, may also be present in a truthful person, but several of these signs in a person’s behavior is much more likely an indicator that someone is trying to deceive you.