How To Tell When Someone Is Lying

How To Tell When Someone Is Lying

May 11

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HOW TO TELL WHEN SOMEONE’S LYING
KurzweilAI
May 11, 2011

Original Link

Professor of psychology R. Edward Geiselman at the University of California, Los Angeles, has been studying for years how to effectively detect deception to ensure public safety, particularly in the wake of renewed threats against the U.S. following the killing of Osama bin Laden.

Geiselman and his colleagues have identified several indicators that a person is being deceptive. The more reliable red flags that indicate deceit, Geiselman said, include:

• When questioned, deceptive people generally want to say as little as possible. Geiselman initially thought they would tell an elaborate story, but the vast majority give only the bare-bones. Studies with college students, as well as prisoners, show this. Geiselman’s investigative interviewing techniques are designed to get people to talk.

• Although deceptive people do not say much, they tend to spontaneously give a justification for what little they are saying, without being prompted.

• They tend to repeat questions before answering them, perhaps to give themselves time to concoct an answer.

• They often monitor the listener’s reaction to what they are saying. “They try to read you to see if you are buying their story,” Geiselman said.

• They often initially slow down their speech because they have to create their story and monitor your reaction, and when they have it straight “will spew it out faster,” Geiselman said. Truthful people are not bothered if they speak slowly, but deceptive people often think slowing their speech down may look suspicious. “Truthful people will not dramatically alter their speech rate within a single sentence,” he said.

• They tend to use sentence fragments more frequently than truthful people; often, they will start an answer, back up and not complete the sentence.

• They are more likely to press their lips when asked a sensitive question and are more likely to play with their hair or engage in other “grooming” behaviors. Gesturing toward one’s self with the hands tends to be a sign of deception; gesturing outwardly is not.

• Truthful people, if challenged about details, will often deny that they are lying and explain even more, while deceptive people generally will not provide more specifics.

• When asked a difficult question, truthful people will often look away because the question requires concentration, while dishonest people will look away only briefly, if at all, unless it is a question that should require intense concentration.

If dishonest people try to mask these normal reactions to lying, they would be even more obvious, Geiselman said. Among the techniques he teaches to enable detectives to tell the truth from lies are:

• Have people tell their story backwards, starting at the end and systematically working their way back. Instruct them to be as complete and detailed as they can. This technique, part of a “cognitive interview” Geiselman co-developed with Ronald Fisher, a former UCLA psychologist now at Florida International University, “increases the cognitive load to push them over the edge.” A deceptive person, even a “professional liar,” is “under a heavy cognitive load” as he tries to stick to his story while monitoring your reaction.

• Ask open-ended questions to get them to provide as many details and as much complete information as possible (“Can you tell me more about…?” “Tell me exactly…”). First ask general questions, and only then get more specific.

• Don’t interrupt, let them talk and use silent pauses to encourage them to talk.

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4 comments

  1. Nam

    You can tell when a politician is lying.
    His lips are moving !

  2. Chuck

    Repeated trauma survivors may often use many of these responses with unsafe people. They are not lying. They are being cautious. It is a learned survival response. See CL Whitfield’s A Gift to Myself, chapter 5. Has Geiselman controlled for a trauma history in his experiments? I doubt it.

  3. Kenneth

    What a pile of crap. Is this article taken seriously by the intelligent population?

  4. calan

    Easiest way is to look them in the eye and question their soul. Personally its very easy to deceive people; as a kid i used to tell a lot of outlandish stories to see how susceptible people where to manipulation. Its funny/sad to see the media utilize these techniques to plant “truths” in the minds of their viewers. Most people’s minds are so weak that they cant help but jump to the desired conclusion with limited “facts”. The reality is that if someone really want to deceive people and they are aware of certain sociological/psychological techniques it becomes very easy. From my experience, people want to believe and are usually too lazy to research something to exhaustion just to understand better or prove you wrong. Being a completely honest person i find it disturbing that people are so easily manipulated. Not that anyone cares but thats my 2 cents.

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