|Liar, Liar… |
"Iam not a crook.” “That dress looks great on you." Some lies have biggerconsequences than others, but at some point, we've probably all toldone. In fact, according to a Cornell University study, people lie inroughly 25 percent of their daily interactions. How can you tell ifsomeone's trying to deceive you or if they're telling the truth? Here,we pinpoint a few common signs.
• Inconsistencies. One of the easiest, and most reliable, waysto catch a liar is to identify inconsistencies in their story—detailsthat just don't jive with common sense, prevailing logic, or societalnorms. For example, if your date claims he's as rich as Bill Gates butdrives a Hyundai, you can bet he's telling a tall tale.
• Eye contact. When it comes to lying, the eyes can be a deadgiveaway. Generally, liars avoid eye contact, but if you're dealingwith a seasoned fabricator, he or she might stare excessively. Inaddition, most people's pupils dilate when they're lying because theiradrenaline rises. According to an FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin,liars may also blink rapidly or close their eyes for slightly prolongedperiods in an attempt to block out auditory or visual stimuli.
• Contradictions. As they weave their tales of deceit, liarstypically forget a few details along the way and reveal some tellingcontradictions. For example, if a friend backed out of your weekendplans because she supposedly had a life-threatening illness and laterdescribed the weekend as "wonderful," consider it a red flag.
• Stammering or scrambling. The majority of liars, especially under questioning, will utter a lot of nervous ahhs, umms, and wellsin an effort to buy time and save face. When confronted withparticularly tough questions, they may also scramble for flimsyrationales and far-fetched excuses to reinforce the lie.
• Shifting vocal patterns. According to experts, inconsistentvocal patterns are extremely common among dishonest people. In themidst of a lie, the pitch and tone of their voices may change on adime, and the rate of their speech may suddenly slow down or getquicker.
• Changing the subject. When trying to detect deception, watchout for this common tactic. For example, if you ask your boss aboutthat raise she promised six months ago, and she starts to talk aboutthe weather, you have to question her motives. After all, why would aliar subject herself to 20 questions when she can just pull aswitcheroo?
• Props. According to the FBI Bulletin, deceivers oftenuse "soda cans, computer screens, and other objects, both large andsmall, to form a barrier between themselves and investigators." Inaddition, pay close attention if the suspected liar is playing withobjects such as a purse or pen.
• Inappropriate emotion. Beware of exaggerated emotion, anger,and defensiveness. (Remember former President Bill Clinton'sfinger-wagging, "I did not have sexual relations with that woman"?).Along these lines, claims of moral outrage and superiority can be asure sign that something's awry.
• Too much information. If a suspected liar's story isexcessively detailed, it should make you doubly skeptical. Chances are,the liar is hoping they can cover all their tracks, leaving no room fordoubt. It's especially fishy when too much information is given inresponse to an otherwise routine question like, "Where were you?"