How to Interpret Body Language if Someone is Lying

How to Interpret Body Language if Someone is Lying



Knowing how to interpret body language comes in handy when someone is lying to us. Body Language is the non-verbal communication that occurs throughout all our interpersonal interactions in daily life. Proponents believe that a person expresses more of his real feelings about you through body language. Sixty to eighty percent of the message a person wants to impart to another human being is conveyed through body language. (Our words only communicate seven to 10% of the message.)


We may have our own personal methods for determining if someone is lying to us, but psychologists who specialize in research about deception state that no one method is guaranteed to expose a liar. University of California visiting professor of psychology Bella DePaulo notes that it is quite hard to find out if someone is lying or if the person is simply anxious. This is because lying cannot be said to be a distinctive psychological process that possesses clear-cut behavioral signs.


But despite this warning, police officers do rely on various methods of interrogation to determine if someone is lying. They keep an eye out for signs of nervousness while listening closely to what the suspect is saying.


Some people, though, are well-practiced at lying – making them hard to difficult to trap. Hardened criminals are one example of people who are pros at lying. Magicians also find it easy to deceive people.


For us ordinary people, what should we keep an eye out for when checking if someone is lying? A liar will have a restricted and rigid physical expression, that features less hand and arm movements. A liar will use up less space, with hand, arm and leg movements directed toward himself. Liars do not like to make eye contact with their interrogators. Rather, they will keep touching their mouth, throat, and face with their hands (perhaps scratching behind their ear or their nose.) A liar will probably not use an open hand to touch his chest (or over his heart.)


When checking if someone is lying, check if the duration and timing of emotional gestures and emotions occurs normally. Usually, emotion is delayed, is displayed for longer than normal, then suddenly comes to a halt. A person is lying when the timing between words, gestures or expressions, and emotions does not jive. Another way is when the words do not fit the corresponding gesture or expression. A person who is expressing phony emotions will also usually express himself through mouth movements rather than involve his whole face.