What lies are and how to recognize them: 15 signs
According to researchers at the University of Massachusetts, 60% of people tell a lie about three times during a 10-minute conversation. As noted in the study of the University of Wisconsin, the majority of people – about 75% of survey participants – lied up to twice a day or in 7% of situations during communication. Meanwhile, the authors of an article in the journal Psychiatric Research and Clinical Practice claim that 13% of the total world population are pathological liars and tell untruths at least 10 times a day.
The topic of lying has always been controversial in enlightened circles. For example, the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche argued that in terms of power and human prosperity, the ability to deceive skillfully is an advantage. However, another German philosopher of the Enlightenment, Immanuel Kant, believed that lying is always immoral.
Why does man lie?
Lying allows a person to establish perceived control over a situation by manipulating it. It is a defense mechanism that the liar thinks allows him not to open up and reveal his true self to another person for a variety of reasons.
Also, lying can be unconscious if a person has had difficulty growing up and has begun to construct their world solely on their own experience, without understanding what is “good” and “bad.”
Lying becomes unhealthy when the other person feels that their interlocutor is not telling the truth or has lied repeatedly – no matter how significant the lie itself or the arguments behind it are.
Psychologists argue that lying for the sake of surprise, like lying to save someone’s life, is considered acceptable. However, any lie, big or small, creates a barrier to communication.
A person may tell a lie for several reasons:
- To protect oneself from punishment or to protect someone else from being punished for a transgression;
- To avoid embarrassment or to cover up an embarrassing situation;
- to raise their own credibility in the eyes of others;
- to gain reward and admiration;
- to maintain power over others;
- to gain the audience’s attention and evoke emotion;
- to arouse trust and in return for trust;
- to appease or gain sympathy yourself;
- to keep some of their actions secret from others;
- In self-deception, if one believes what one is saying.
Types of Lies
Varieties of lying can be characterized through the phrase commonly spoken when testifying at court hearings: “I swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.” Thus, lying can be divided into:
- Not “telling the truth.” A person gives out a pure lie with a misrepresentation of the facts. For example, a contractor assures that he delivered a quality product, although in fact it contains a defect;
- Not telling “the whole truth.” The person is silent about the facts that could radically change the attitude of the interlocutor to what is happening. For example, the supplier simply states the fact that he shipped the material without mentioning the marriage;
- Saying “nothing but the truth”. The person evades a direct answer to a specific question, hiding behind general phrases. So, in response to the question about whether the material was delivered in good quality, the contractor says that he has a good reputation, and such incidents have never happened before.
How do you know if a person is lying?
There are several signs that will help you know if a person is lying.
- Does not want to or refuses to answer
Usually the interlocutor uses the following formulations: “I can’t answer this question for you”, “you have addressed to the wrong address”, or begins to evade the answer.
- Uses evasive introductions.
Worry if the person starts phrases with the words “in general,” “in principle,” “mostly,” “maybe,” and so on.
- Uses inconsistent statements
The interlocutor can make a number of contradictory statements, and use them in a row.
- Gives too detailed an answer
The interlocutor may give a bunch of unnecessary small details to disguise a lie. Usually this is a rehearsed story, so you can ask the person to tell it in reverse order or to focus on points he/she chose not to explain.
- Repeating a question
Usually this technique allows the person to buy time for an answer. The person may use the phrases “that’s a very interesting question” or “I knew you would ask that,” so that the pause doesn’t visually seem too long.
The interlocutor may use the phrases “I don’t remember” or “I don’t know.” In some cases, it is appropriate to remind him or her that this kind of amnesia is unacceptable (for example, if work duties are involved).
- Turns to the attack.
Instead of an answer, the cornered interlocutor may go on the offensive, asking counter questions such as “why are you asking me that?” or “why don’t you believe me?
- Pauses before answering.
If the interlocutor suddenly pauses before his next answer after answering without a hitch, it’s worth thinking. That’s why scouts are taught to always pause before answering.
- Uses resonating speech and non-verbal cues
Controlling your body is much harder than speech. That’s why some interlocutors may agree with you but shake their heads or show a grimace of dejection or even disgust.
- Covering their eyes and mouth.
The interlocutor may blink frequently or cover his eyes or mouth with his hand to hide non-verbal signals of lying.
- Feels the mouth is dry.
A person may have a dry throat because of great agitation and this will be noticed by licking the lips, coughing, or swallowing often.
- Speaks in a changing voice
The person’s voice may tremble and stutter due to stress, and the person may also talk louder or quieter, drastically change the pace of speech, or make extraneous sounds like “mooing” or “bleating”.
- Changes the body position
The interlocutor may randomly change his or her body posture while answering a difficult question. This is especially noticeable if the interlocutor is sitting in a reclining chair. He will try to increase the distance between himself and those around him.
- Sets unnatural eye contact.
The interlocutor may abruptly avert his eyes if he is talking about a difficult topic, although before he was not afraid to look directly at the opponent. Or, on the contrary, he/she can catch the look to show an imaginary openness.
- Scratching his face and head.
When stressed, blood rushes to the heart and limbs. This causes its outflow from the ears, nose and other parts of the face, which causes the desire to scratch them.
Experts note that to effectively detect lying, it is necessary to see at least two of the above signs in the first five seconds of the interviewer’s response. It is also important to watch for changes in the behavior of the person, as they are different for each interlocutor.
It is worth understanding that the signs of lying do not necessarily indicate a liar. People may repeat certain movements if they are naturally fidgety or suffer from ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). On the contrary, a person may not give any signals, but still tell an untruth because he or she is a pathological liar and believes what he or she says, or has no feelings of guilt or anxiety about it.
Effective methods of how to spot a lie.
Often during a conversation with another person you cannot tell if he is telling the truth or lying. And you do not want to be deceived by your interlocutor. So is it possible to determine whether a person is telling the truth or outright lying to you? Are there any methods?
Of course, there are methods how to distinguish lies from the truth. And you don’t have to be a professional psychologist to quickly enough see a liar and almost unmistakably determine falsity of his messages and arguments.
We just need to carefully observe the behavior of the person, analyze what he says, fix the obvious dissonance between his words and gestures. You need to trust your eyes more than your ears.
How can you tell from the external signs of a person that he is lying?
Identifying lying is easy and simple, by observing facial expressions, listening to the voice and the spoken words, and paying special attention to the gestures and postures used by the person lying to you. Here are some examples.
One person is trying to appear to you extremely honest, the opponent of all lies. Therefore constantly repeats: “an honest word”, “believe me”, “I swear to you”, “this is the absolute truth”. He does not believe himself and tries to convince himself.
The other, in order not to lie, will try by all means to evade the topic under discussion, the direct questions asked. To this end, he will convince you that he is not aware of what is being discussed. Or he simply has no desire to talk about it.
Sometimes the liar switches to outright rudeness, can begin to be rude, rude not to talk about what he will have to lie about. In such cases it can come to shouting, scandal and even physical abuse.
Remember that an honest man on the contrary will try to tell you everything in detail, to defend his position, to explain the circumstances of the case in detail. In some cases he may just deliberately mislead, but not lie.
Often you have to lie in the name of your own salvation or to protect a loved one. This is the so-called “lie for good. It probably happened to each of us at home in the family and at work with colleagues.
Professional psychologists recommend to carefully observe the eye movements of your interlocutor, his facial expressions, gestures and body movements in order to recognize the lie. Moreover, in each person, all this is strictly individual.
Some people try to close their body, others start scratching their nose, others look around. As you know, very much about a person can say his eyes. A liar will try not to look you directly in the eyes, he will divert his eyes to the side, running with his eyes.
If you ask him a specific question, he unexpectedly starts to get lost, to stammer, to blush, because the false legend, as a rule, is not thought through to the end and you have to think it up on the fly.
A person who lies feels emotionally uncomfortable, his behavior is unnatural, he may be too active or too passive. If you know your interlocutor well, you can easily determine that he is lying.
How can you tell a lie from your eyes?
1) Psychologists have long noticed that a person who lies usually looks away to the left and then down. This is his way of trying to find the right words or imagery to tell a lie.
If you have noticed such behavior in your interlocutor, there is reason to believe that he or she is not being sincere with you. But it is not yet an established fact that he is outright lying to you. You need to continue to monitor his behavior.
2) If the person looks up during a conversation, this means that he is trying to extract and describe images from his visual or visual memory. If he turns his head to the right or left side, it means he is working with auditory or auditory memory.
If your interlocutor puts his head down, it means he wants to concentrate and carefully control everything he says. Watch him carefully, it is at this point that he may begin to make up and voice a lie.
3) It is important to record the first reaction of the interlocutor to the question he is asked. If he begins to roll his eyes up and to the right or drops them down and to the left, it means that he is panickingly trying to come up with some sort of acceptable lie.
Remember that a professional liar, i.e. a person who lies constantly, is skilled in this business and also has good acting skills, is very difficult to catch in a lie through the eyes.
4) If you have repeatedly encountered the fact that a particular person lies to you, try to remember how he behaves. This will help you to catch him in a lie in the future.
You should remember his whole behavior strategy: how his eyes “run”, what phrases he says, in what direction he looks, how he behaves in general. This information in the future will help you not to become a victim of a liar.
How to detect lying in a conversation?
Everyone knows how to deceive. It starts with a child’s tendency to fantasize, and adults over the course of life just get used to lying to each other, even about little things. Some do it without thinking twice.
However, the deceived party suffers from unreliable information, receives psychological trauma: parents deceive their children, and children of parents, spouses lie to each other, and friends ruthlessly misinform best friends.
The story you make up as you go along is just as easily forgotten. If you ask a liar a second time about the same subject, he will come up with a completely or partially different version. And you will realize that you have been blatantly deceived.
Sometimes a constant lie turns into a real pathology. In psychology there is a concept of pathological liar. This disease destroys the consciousness of the patient, he himself ceases to understand where is the truth and where is a lie.
Let’s understand what a lie is, and when it can become a problem not only for those around you, but also for the liar himself, and turn into a pathology that is difficult to cure? A lie is untruthful information that is expressed by one person to another.
Modern psychology distinguishes three types of people who are prone to lie.
1) A person who wants to look in society always smarter than everyone else. He likes to take an active part in a variety of discussions, proving to his interlocutors that he has a good classical education and great life experience.
To identify his lies, it is enough to ask a couple of simple clarifying questions on the topic under discussion. The lying person will immediately try to answer the specifying questions in general phrases, and it will become clear that he is deceiving.
2) A person who lies for ulterior motives is prone to make a host of different, sometimes simply inappropriate compliments. In this way he wants to lull his interlocutor’s guard and get his own self-serving benefits from him.
This is how crooks of all stripes work, deceiving gullible and suggestible citizens. This is a swindler in the style of Sergei Mavrodi. Only your own life experience and intelligence can help here.
3) There are people who have the ability to deceive from birth. They lie “for the soul,” perceiving the lie as art. They usually have good acting skills and can fool anyone.
Often there is no defense against them. Such a liar will put on a show in front of you, he will take your money, and you will like it. In the act, for a minute he believes what he is saying. They are liars, in the style of Ostap Bender.
4) Pathological liars deceive both people and themselves. They make up their own lives (a test pilot, a confidant of the President, the son of the Prosecutor General) and believe in their own fiction. In reality such liars, as a rule, have low social status.
If you demand from a pathological liar proof of his words, he immediately tells a beautiful story about how he was forgotten or mixed up in the maternity hospital, deliberately deprived of status or simply burned documents on the orders of the Kremlin.
How do you recognize a lie?
Psychologists have developed a number of methods that should be used to understand whether a person is telling you the truth or simply lying. These methods do not provide a hundred percent guarantee, but they certainly provide serious help.
First method: Detecting lies by their response
If the person after the question sounded completely or partially repeats it or keeps silent for a few minutes, it means that he is thinking about the correct answer in order not to harm himself or other people.
Such behavior indicates that he is being insincere with you and most often ends up answering falsely. A truthful person will not hesitate to give you all the information they have on your question.
The second method: Identify lies by the absence of an answer
If in response to a question your interlocutor tells a joke or otherwise diverts the conversation, this means that he does not want to share with you, he has something to hide. According to the rules of etiquette you should appreciate his wit and laugh.
If you continue to insist on getting an answer, you could be called a bore. This is such a well-known tactic not to lie, but also not to tell the truth, often used by liars in society.
The third method: detect lying by behavior
Instead of an answer, you get a nervous reaction from your interlocutor. He starts coughing, scratching, can dramatically change the pace of his speech, etc. This indicates that he is psychologically preparing to lie to you.
You should be careful with such a person, because you can really become a victim of deception. Although such behavior is not typical for a professional liar, because he has long been accustomed to lie and has from this his own benefit.
The fourth method: to detect lying through gestures.
Sometimes the interlocutor during the conversation starts to automatically make specific gestures (scratching the back of his head, touching his face, etc.). This indicates that he is subconsciously trying to distance himself from you.
Sometimes he is backing away from the interlocutor, shifting from foot to foot, trying to distance himself from you. This means that at a subconscious level he understands that now he will have to tell an untruth. And it is unpleasant for him.
Carefully study the behavior of your relatives and friends at the time when you think they are lying. This will help you not to spoil your relationship with them in vain, but just know when they have told an untruth and protect yourself from it in a timely manner.