It’s no secret that adults tell the truth less frequently than children. More precisely, it’s not that they always lie, they just keep back a lot of information.
And if our words tell a different story than our thoughts, our body betrays us nonverbally. Therefore, it is very important not only to listen to what people say but also to look at them.
Here are the seven most common body language signs of lying:
1. Shielding one’s mouth.
Remember the three monkeys? I see nothing, I hear nothing, I say nothing. One sign of lying is when a person shields their mouth.
2. Touching one’s nose.
Remember the tale about Pinocchio, whose nose began to grow rapidly when he was lying? In fact, this process happens physically: special substances called catecholamines get released and lead to irritation of the nasal mucosa. At the same time, blood pressure and blood flow increase, and the nose indeed slightly ‘grows up’. Of course, it is not noticeable, but you can see the other person reach for his/her nose and scratch himself/herself.
3. Rubbing one’s eyes.
When a child does not want to look at something, they cover their eyes with their palms. In the adult, this gesture is transformed into rubbing one’s eyes. This way, the brain is trying to block something bad so that we don’t face it (deception, doubt, or unpleasant sight).
In men, it is a more pronounced gesture: they rub their eyes as if they got something in the eye. In women, this gesture is less visible and could look like they just want to correct their makeup, gently rubbing their lower eyelids with a finger. But when interpreting this body language sign of lying, it is necessary to be careful – what if the person you are talking to is not lying and indeed got something in the eye?
4. Rubbing the earlobe.
Let’s return to the monkeys! It is a gesture, “I hear nothing”. It is usually accompanied by looking to the side. The variations of this gesture include rubbing one’s earlobes, neck scratching behind the ear, picking the ear, or twisting it into a tube.
5. Scratching one’s neck.
As a rule, people scratch their necks with the index finger of their dominant hand. The average person scratches their neck a few times a day. This gesture is questioned. That is, if the person says something like, “Yes! I totally agree with you,” and thus reaches out to scratch his/her neck, it means that in fact, he or she does not agree and has doubts.
6. Pulling the collar.
Quite a familiar gesture, right? It looks as if it becomes stuffy and a person finds it hard to breathe. Telling lies leads to high blood pressure and sweating, especially if the liar is afraid of being caught in a lie.
7. Fingers in the mouth.
The most typical fictional character with his thumb in his mouth is Dr. Evil from the Austin Powers movie. He almost always keeps his little finger near the mouth. This is the unconscious attempt to return to the state of security, which is usually associated with infancy and sucking a dummy.
Adults put cigarettes in their mouths, nibble pens, or chew gum. Most commonly, touching one’s mouth is associated with deception, but it also could mean that the person seeks approval. Maybe they are lying because they are afraid that you will not like the truth.
Do eyes betray lying?
Eyes do not betray the liar, say researchers from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, breaking “incriminating evidence” which has been defining the conclusions of experts and relationship partners for decades. Tests carried out by experts with the help of video, showed that eye movements reveal nothing about whether someone is telling the truth or not. However, they found five other signs that could reveal a little (or big) Pinocchio.
To date, NLP experts and even some psychologists believed that when a right-handed is looking to the right, then they are probably lying; and when he is looking to the left, then they are probably being honest.
According to Professor Richard Wiseman and his research team, that is not true.
“A large percentage of people believe that certain movements of the eyes indicate lies, and these beliefs are even taught in training courses for professionals,” explains Dr. Caroline Watt, one of the authors of the study. “Our study does not support this idea but instead, argues that it is time to abandon this method of detecting lies,” she adds.
So here are five signs that might betray even a good liar:
1. Fewer “me” words
Liars tend to invent stories that never happened, which makes them limit the number of words that mention themselves, such as ‘I’, ‘my’, or ‘me’.
2. Talking without moving
The process of telling a lie is not easy, so usually, liars tend not to move in order to fully focus on their story.
Liars have a slight hesitation in the flow of their speech, compared with honest people.
4. Sudden pauses
Liars often prepare their answers in advance. When they accept an unexpected question, they take some time to think it over before answering.
5. Touching the mouth or the hair
Liars tend to touch the area around their mouths or playing with their hair more often than sincere people.
These are only some of the body language signs of lying. You can read more about the non-verbal signs of lying in the following articles:
- How to Spot a Liar Using These 10 Techniques Revealed by Former FBI Agents
- How to Tell If Someone Is Lying with These 10 Science-Backed Hacks
- The Body Language of Lying: Top Secrets Revealed by Psychologists
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