Lies are destructive, but certain facial expressions can help you determine when someone is lying to you. Understanding these expressions gives you an edge.

Recently, I watched a TED talk about liars, only to discover that everyone lies… how wonderful. The key is, however, that people lie for different reasons. While some of these lies may seem harmless, it’s still important to know when this is occurring.

Also, it seems there is a fine line between acceptance of small lies and the destruction caused by lies that matter more than others. Our facial expressions reveal what we need to know.

The science of lying

According to the researchers from the University of British Columbia, the secret is hidden in five muscle groups that change “behavior” when someone is lying.

Experts from the Psychology Department of the University studied 52 cases of people who had appeared on television in several countries talking to the public about the safe return of their relatives or gathering information that could lead to the killers of their beloved persons.

According to authorities, half of these individuals based on evidence (DNA, etc.) appeared to lie and then were convicted of murder.

The American psychologists, for their part, found that the stress experienced by individuals every time they are telling lies does not allow them to control the contractions of their facial muscles.

In a video analyzed by the researchers appeared 26 liars and 26 people who told the truth. Specifically, the experts studied more than 20,000 frames of their performances on TV and found significant differences between them.

The experts focused especially on the facial muscle groups associated with sadness, joy, and surprise such as forehead muscles (frontalis), eyelid muscles, and several groups of muscles of the mouth.

Based on the results of the research, the muscles related to the expression of grief – the eyelid muscles and the levator muscle of angle of mouth – seemed to contract more frequently in people who were telling the truth.

In contrast, the faces of those who were lying revealed a small contraction of the zygomatic major muscles, located around the mouth, and a full frontalis muscle contraction.

These movements, according to the experts, contributed to the failed attempt to look sad.

Facial expressions that tell if someone is lying

As the study shows, it’s all about these facial expressions and which ones provide clues. Lies become obvious when you learn to read these cues during a conversation.

The eyes, the mouth, and all the tiny muscles in the face respond either in a dishonest or honest manner. Here’s the clincher, you have to be able to differentiate between the two.

1. Eyebrows and the eyes

When someone lies, they generally raise the eyebrows in a subconscious attempt of conveying openness.

They also blink a lot and hold their eyes closed longer. Closing the eyes is a way to buy time for the liar to keep their story intact without betraying themselves through dishonest eyes.

Also, eye contact will either be avoided or forced, both will reveal whether or not the truth is present.

2. Blushing

When a person lies, they often blush. Apparently, nervousness causes an increase in temperature, especially in the face. The blood flows into the cheeks and causes the liar to blush. Although this phenomenon can occur due to other stimuli, it is almost certain to reveal a liar.

3. Smiles

I am sure you’ve read many articles about deciphering facial expressions, so I am sure you can tell a fake smile from a real one, right? Well, in case you’re wondering, a fake smile has little to no effect on the eyes. In fact, fake smiles are often accompanied by “dead eyes”. A real smile, on the other hand, has a great effect on the eyes.

A real smile often causes the eyes to light up or become smaller. This is because more muscles are used in happiness than with forced demands. When a person lies, the smile is almost always fake, revealing the truth through the eyes yet again.

4. Microexpressions

Facial expressions that come and go quickly are some of the best indicators of lies. The reason these expressions prove to be great lie detectors is that microexpressions reveal raw truths.

Those moments in time reveal the honest feelings of the person being questioned. They also reveal something is wrong due to the fact that the expressions are being quickly hidden.

Not all microexpressions indicate lying, however, so you must be trained to notice subtle changes and to understand all factors associated with any given situation or interrogation.

5. Speech

Although it’s questionable whether speech is considered an expression of the face, it can still be useful for learning about other forms of facial language. In this case, when speaking, liars often repeat themselves because it seems they are attempting to convince themselves of their own lies.

They often speak fast in order to get the lies out in one consistent piece. While talking, inauthentic people will experience an increase in heart rate because they are nervous, left wondering if the lies they just told will be believable.

If the person they are talking to is familiar with reading facial expressions and other indicators of lies, they don’t stand a chance.

Also, liars will add more detail to stories to convince their listeners as well. After all, they are usually so worried that they tend to over-embellish and rehearse answers as a rather unintelligent way of fortification.

They may also be defensive, answer a question with a question, or simply play the victim.

Our faces and bodies tell the truth

Not only do facial expressions indicate the authenticity of what a person says or does, but body language does a great job of this as well. Fidgeting, sweating and increased heart rate, as mentioned before, also reveal that someone may be lying or at least not telling the whole truth.

It may take some practice to catch these small indicators, but once you have the ability, you will be able to know the truth for yourself. Liars and inconsistent people do more damage than they like to believe, and the quicker we can reveal them, the better.

Memorize these facial expressions and body language, then try them out and see how well you do. You might be surprised by how many liars you catch today!



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This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Gary K Carpenter

    Every parent in the world needs to read this!

    1. Sherrie

      LOL, yes. I have been watching my children’s faces after I ask them questions. I love how they try to lie about something and I already know their face is betraying them. It’s not funny to be lied to, but when you see a child attempt to do so, you have to stifle that amusement.

  2. Bobbg

    I think she’s lieing about it all just look at the blush on her face!

  3. Nani

    I hope no one takes this too seriously, because 98% of these ‘signs of a liar’ are also clear signs of someone with anxiety, who’s probably about to tell you something you don’t want to hear. Or the signs of a terrible liar. Please don’t take this list too seriously or use it to enforce anything. It’s really not that helpful nor concrete.

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