How to Know When Someone is Lying Instantly

Some people seem to have a gift for deception. They can make direct eye contact, never flinch and tell their lies. The majority of people are guilty of telling a lie at some time during their lifetime. Statisticians suggest that the average person hears anywhere from 10 to 200 lies every day. Law enforcement interrogators and scientific researchers claim that there are a number of signs to look for when trying to determine if someone is being truthful.

Distancing Tactic

When confronted or questioned about their participation in an immoral, unethical or illegal activity, liars commonly distance themselves from the circumstances. They may create a hypothetical situation or refer to other people involved in an attempt to separate themselves from the actual act.

Simplification Filled with Facts

If asked for their side of a story, liars keep their explanation basic and to the point. However, they tend to exaggerate the situation by babbling on and provide a variety of unnecessary details in an attempt to convince the accuser of their innocence. The array of details are commonly so extensive and elaborate that in the days to come if questioned again, the liar cannot possibly remember all of the previous facts.

Delays and Pauses

When a person is asked a question, they typically reply with an immediate response. However, when someone asks a liar a question concerning a potentially incriminating incident, they often delay in answering according to CIA operatives. They may be attempting to gather their thoughts, formulate excuses or a fabricated story.

Verbal Contradicts Non-Verbal Communication

Under normal circumstances, non-verbal physical actions generally mirror or emphasize what a person says. As an example, a liar may move their head from side-to-side while saying yes. They might also nod when answering no. Someone who is telling a lie may avoid direct eye contact or close their eyes while speaking. They might also cover their eyes or mouths or turn their heads away while speaking. This action may subconsciously indicate that they are giving a falsehood. On the other hand, individuals possessing pathological personality traits make direct, glaring eye contact as a show of aggression, defiance or dominance.

Signs of Anxiety

An inexperienced liar often displays signs of anxiety or nervousness when put in the uncomfortable position of answering questions. Some of these signs include needing to clear the throat or swallowing saliva before answering. In this instance, the body may cause extreme dryness or salivation in response to the emotional and psychological discomfort. The autonomic nervous system further responds in an attempt to calm the stress by limiting blood flow to the head or extremities, which causes coldness, itchiness or tingling sensations. They might exhibit abnormally high perspiration. In this case, liars might habitually lick their lips, pull on their ears or lips and wring, rub or wipe their hands.

Cite this page: N., Pam M.S., "How to Know When Someone is Lying Instantly," in PsychologyDictionary.org, February 9, 2016, https://psychologydictionary.org/article/how-to-know-when-someone-is-lying-instantly/ (accessed August 25, 2019).
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