Body language & signs of lying

Written by emilia lamberto
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Introduction
  • Introduction

    Body language & signs of lying

    For some of us, figuring out whether or not someone is lying is a difficult feat, often met with unanswered questions and confusion. For others, though, seeing through a liar is as simple as counting to 10. You may wonder how people are able to figure out the truth from a lie. The answer is simple: it's all about body language and nonverbal cues.

    Nonverbal cues can give away a liar. (Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

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    Physical Movements

    When speaking to an individual that you suspect is lying, pay attention to her physical movements. If she expresses herself through hand motions or movement of the body, you will notice that each reaction seems to be delayed or inconsistent with what she is saying. In other words, responses will appear robotic and generally unnatural. She may appear to slouch whereas a confident person would keep her chest out and back straight. As she speaks, you may notice her shrugging her shoulders. This is often done subconsciously by liars to make themselves appear more relaxed, when in reality, they look anything but calm.

    Slouching is typically a sign of insecurity and unsure feelings. (Ryan McVay/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

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    Hands & Eyes

    Some of the most important nonverbal cues are found in the hands and eyes of someone who is lying. Hand gestures may be limited or avoided completely. They may be hidden in his pockets, or constantly moving toward his face or neck area. Hands will generally be kept close to the body, a subconscious way of "protecting" himself. Those who are lying will typically avoid touching their chest area and may pick at their clothes, scratch their nose or other parts of the face. The eyes are often referred to as "windows to the soul." This is appropriate when observing a liar because he will often avoid looking at you directly, in fear of you "seeing through him." His eyes may also dart back and forth as he searches for answers in his head. Also, watch for forced "surprise" faces, or immediate nervousness or anxiety.

    Avoiding eye contact is often a sign of dishonesty. (Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

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    Reactions

    When you confront someone who is lying, she will immediately make an attempt to defend herself, even with a pitiful defence. On the contrary, individuals who are telling the truth will typically go on the offensive and get to the bottom of the rumour. She may also clam up and retreat into her shell, acting angry or upset. This is typically a way to avoid talking about the situation until she can gather her thoughts -- which may actually mean she wants to get her story straight. An individual who is lying may turn her body away from you and walk away, whereas someone telling the truth will do whatever she can to convince you. Once all has been said, she will explain that she's said all she can say, and she's not sure where to go from here. A person who is lying will either avoid speaking about it all together or constantly defend herself.

    Walking away is an easy way for a liar to get her story straight. (Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images)

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    Silence

    Once you believe you know that the person is lying to you, try one last trick. After asking a number of questions, wait for his answer and then remain silent. Silence is very uncomfortable for someone who is lying. When he breaks the silence, he may reveal more information than you expect. However, be warned that you may end up in a seemingly endless conversation as he continues to talk to avoid silence.

    Silence is awkward for someone who is lying. (Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images)

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    Verbal Clues

    Vague responses and indirect answers may be a reason to suspect that someone is lying to you. For example, if a lover doesn't provide even the tiniest bit of detail in a story, she may be hiding something. Also, when someone fails to answer the question by dodging it or changing the subject, it's wise to wonder if something's up. Listen for the voice to rise at the end of a statement, as if the person is asking a question. Someone who is lying may also constantly ask you whether or not you believe her. An individual who is telling the truth will automatically assume that you believe her, and shouldn't need reassurance otherwise. Finally, if the suspect doesn't ask any questions of her own, she may be focused on what she's going to say next, or how she appears to you when she responds. If this is the case, she is most likely caught up with an internal battle, trying to figure out if you know whether or not she's lying.

    If she avoids asking questions of her own, be weary of her motives. (Robert Koene/Photodisc/Getty Images)

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