How To Get The Truth (Part II)
Signs of Deception
Once you realize that you’re being lied to, should you confront the liar immediately? Usually not. The best approach is to note the fact in your mind and continue with the conversation, trying to extract more information. Once you confront someone who has lied to you, the tone of the conversation changes and gathering additional facts becomes difficult. Therefore, wait until you have all the evidence you want and then decide whether to confront the person at that time or hold off to figure how you can best use this insight to your advantage.
Section 1: Body Language
• The person will make little or no eye contact. A person who is lying to you will do everything to avoid making eye contact.
• Physical expression will be limited, with few arm and hand movements. What arm and hand movements are present will seem stiff, and mechanical. Hands, arm and legs pull in toward the body; the individual takes up less space.
• His hand(s) may go up to his face or throat, especially to the mouth. But contact with his body is limited to these areas. He is also unlikely to touch his chest with an open hand gesture. He may also touch the nose or scratch behind the ear.
• If he is trying to appear casual and relaxed about his answer, he may shrug a little.
Section 2: Emotional States: Consistency and Contradiction
• The timing is off between gestures and words. If the facial expression comes after the verbal statement (“I am so angry with you right now” … pause … and then the angry expression), it looks false.
• The head moves in a mechanical fashion without regard to emphasis, indicating a conscious movement.
• Gestures don’t match the verbal message, such as frowning when saying “I love you.” Hands tightly clenched and a statement of pleasure are not in sync with each other.
• The timing and duration of emotional gestures will seem off. The emotion is delayed coming on, stays longer than it should, and fades out abruptly.
• Expression will be limited to the mouth area when the person is feigning certain emotions – happiness, surprise, awe, and so on – rather than the whole face.
Section 3: Interpersonal Interactions – When we are wrongfully accused, only a guilty person gets defensive. Someone who is innocent will usually go on the offensive.
• He is reluctant to face his accuser and may turn his head or shift his body away.
• The person who is lying will probably slouch; he is unlikely to stand tall with his arms out or outstretched.
• There’s movement away from his accuser, possibly in the direction of the exit.
• There will be little or no physical contact during his attempt to convince you.
• He will not point his finger at the person he is trying to convince.
• He may place physical objects (pillow, drinking glass, et cetera) between himself and his accuser to form a barrier, with a verbal equivalent of “I don’t want to talk about it,” indicating deception or covert intention.
Section 4: What Is Said: Actual Verbal Content
• He will use your words to make his point. When asked, “Did you cheat on me?” The liar answers, “No, I didn’t cheat on you.” In addition, when a suspect uses a contraction – “It wasn’t me” instead of “It was not me” – statistically, there is a 60% chance he is truthful.
• He may stonewall, giving an impression that his mind is made up. This is often an attempt to limit your challenges to his position. If someone says right up front that he positively won’t budge, it means one thing: He knows he can be swayed. He needs to tell you this so you won’t ask, because he knows he’ll cave in. The confident person will use phrases like “I’m sorry, this is pretty much the best we can do.”
• Watch out for the good old Freudian slip.
• He depersonalizes his answer by offering his belief on the subject instead of answering directly. A liar offers abstract assurances as evidence of his innocence in a specific instance. Example: “Did you ever cheat on me?” and you hear, “You know I’m against that sort of thing. I think it morally reprehensible.”
• He will keep adding more information until he’s sure that he has sold you on his story. The guilty are uncomfortable with silence. He speaks to fill the gap left by the silence.
• He may imply an answer but never state it directly.
Section 5: How Something Is Said
• Deceitful response to questions regarding beliefs and attitudes take longer to think up. However, how fast does the rest of the sentence follow the initial one-word response? In truthful statements a fast no or yes is followed quickly by an explanation. If the person is being deceitful the rest of the sentence may come more slowly because he needs time to think up an explanation.
• Watch out for reactions that are all out of proportion to the question. May repeat points that he has already made. May also be reluctant to use words that convey attachment and ownership or possessiveness (“that car” as opposed to “my car”).
• The person who is lying may leave out pronouns and speak in a monotonous and inexpressive voice. When a person is making a truthful statement, he emphasizes the pronoun as much as or more than the rest of the sentence.
• 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.
• Statements sound an awful lot like questions, indicating that he’s seeking reassurance. Voice, head and eyes lift at the end of their statement.
Section 6: Psychological Profile
• We often see the world as a reflection of ourselves. If you’re being accused of something, check your accuser’s veracity. Watch out for those people who are always telling you just how corrupt the rest of the world is. Beware of those asking you if you believe him. They may respond with, “you don’t believe me, do you?” Most people who tell the truth expect to be believed.
• Look at whether his focus is internal or external. When a person is confident about what he’s saying, he’s more interested in your understanding him and less interested in how he appears to you.
• In a liar’s story, he will usually not give the point of view of a third party. To illustrate giving a point of view of someone else, “My roommate was so shocked that I would…”
• In relating a story, a liar often leaves out the negative aspects (unless the story is used to explain way he was delayed or had to cancel plans). The story of a vacation, for example, should have both positive and negative aspects of what happened.
• A liar willingly answers your questions but asks none of his own. For example, during their first intimate encounter, Randy asks his new girlfriend if she’s ever been tested for AIDS. She responds with “Oh, yes, certainly,” and continues on a bit about annual checkups, giving blood, etc. And then nothing! If she was concerned about her health, as her answer implied, then she would have asked him the same question. The liar is often unaware that coming across as truthful means both answering and asking questions.
Section 7: General Indications of Deceit
• When the subject is changed, he’s in a better, more relaxed mood. The guilty wants the subject changed; the innocent always wants a further exchange of information.
• He does not become indignant when falsely accused. While he is being accused the liar will remain fairly expressionless. The liar is more concerned with how he is going to respond than he is with the accusation itself.
• He uses such phrases as “To tell you the truth,” “To be perfectly honest,” and “Why would I lie to you?”
• He has an answer to your question down pat, such as giving precise detail to an event occurring two months ago.
• He stalls by asking you to repeat the question or by answering your question with a question. “Where did you hear that?” “Could you be more specific?” or even repeating your question back to you, at an attempt at sounding incredulous. For example, “Did I sell you a puppy with a heart condition? Is that what you’re asking me?”
• What he’s saying sounds implausible, such as “During the past ten years, I have never used a specific racial epithet.”
• He offers a preamble to his statement starting with “I don’t want you to think that…” Often that’s exactly what he wants you to think. Whenever someone makes a point of telling you what they’re not doing, you can be sure it’s exactly what they are doing. Such as, “Not to hurt your feelings, but…”
• He implies through a form of denial. You hear, “He’s having marital problems, but it has nothing to do with his wife’s new job.” What’s the first thing you ask? “What does his wife do?” Suddenly you’re in the exact conversation that is “supposed” to have no bearing on the facts.
• He uses humor or sarcasm to defuse your concerns, rather than responding seriously.
• He offers you a “better” alternative to your request when he is unable to give you what you originally asked for. Before you accept someone at his word that he has something better to offer, first see whether he has what you originally asked for. If he doesn’t, then you shouldn’t believe him.
• All of his facts relating to numbers are the same or multiples of one another. Watch out when facts, figures, and information have unusual similarities.
• There is evidence of involuntary responses that are anxiety based. Anxiety causes many things. His breather may appear as a deep, audible inhaling in an attempt to control his breathing to calm himself. Swallowing becomes difficult; he may clear his throat. His ability to focus on something is often diminished, unable to pay attention to what’s going on.
• He uses an obvious fact to support a dubious action. For example, let’s say that a guard is standing watch over a restricted area. It’s his job to check ID’s of those who enter. “I’m not sure you have authorization,” he says to a man attempting access. “I’m not surprised,” answered the man, “only a few people are aware of my clearance level. My work here is not supposed to be known by everyone.”
• He casually tells you something that deserves more attention.
• He exclaims his displeasure at the actions of another who has done something similar so that you will not suspect him. For instance, if he is trying to throw you off track of his embezzlement scheme, he may openly chastise another employee for “borrowing” some office supplies for personal use at home. Your impression is that he is moral person who objects to something as minor as stealing office supplies. Certainly he cannot be responsible for a large-scale embezzlement scheme.
• He may casually tell you something that should deserve more attention. “Oh by the way, I’ve got to go out of town next weekend on business.” If he doesn’t usually travel for work on the weekends, then you would expect her to make a point of how unusual the trip is. Her downplaying the trip makes it suspicious. When something out of the ordinary happens and the person doesn’t draw attention to it, it means that he is trying to draw attention away from it. Another tactic is running off a long list of items in the hope that one will remain unnoticed.
• If he lies about one thing, everything he says is questionable.
• His story is so wild that you almost don’t believe it. But you do, because if he wanted to lie, you think that he would have come up with something more plausible.