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4 Secret Body Language Signs to Tell If Someone Is Lying

4 Secret Body Language Signs to Tell If Someone Is Lying

It is completely possible to reduce the likelihood of being manipulated by others. There are slight hints within our body language that can tell you if someone is lying. The techniques used to distinguish liars and truth tellers have been studied extensively since the 1970s and have been a focus for those involved in investigations and espionage to extract valuable information. Fortunately for us, these techniques can be easily used on just about anyone to pick up subtle cues in their body language and get to the bottom of their true intentions.

Not only does it hurt to be lied to, but it can put you at a disadvantage since you’ll have false information, which ultimately affects your decision-making. Lying for personal gain or gratification is a dishonest personal trait and stamping the lies out earlier in your relationship with a person who is in communication with you will save you a whole lot of stress down the line.

Infidelity, cheating spouses, and raw dishonesty are some of the most anger-inducing experiences you can encounter because trust is key to good relationships. Whether it’s a trusted friend, a new acquaintance, or a stranger on the street, being lied to can injure your pride and ego. It can mean the difference between getting a job, spotting a cheating spouse, being at the right place at the right time, or preventing a plethora of unfortunate events if only you had the accurate information you needed.

Forensic psychologist Dr. Leanne ten Brinke, along with her collaborators Dayna Stimson and Dana R. Carney from the University of California, Berkeley, in their study on lie detection say we have good instincts at spotting at a liar, but our logical judgments let us down. “Despite the obvious advantage of detecting lies accurately, conscious judgments of veracity are only slightly more accurate than chance.”

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Computer scientist Rada Mihalcea developed a program that analyzed people who lied in court. She found there are clues that humans give naturally when they deceive, but we’re not paying close enough attention to pick them up.

Here are four secret body language signs that you can use to tell if someone is lying to you, allowing you to extract accurate information during the conversation, decide whether this person has your best interests in mind, and possibly encourage authenticity.

1. Watch Their Eye Movement

eye movement
    Courtesy of https://flic.kr/p/5p1fjr

    When a person lies, they utilize the opposite side of their brain from the side used to remember a factual event. A person’s eyes shift in the direction of the side of the brain that is being used when they answer a question. You can use this to spot someone lying by watching his or her eye movement shift when answering a question.

    Of course this is no guarantee to indicate that the person may be lying, though deciphering the lie a person is telling, will depend on the direction their eyes will start to move. For example a visually constructed image will often cause a person’s eyes to move up and to the left as they create the image using the left side of their brain constructing an image purely of their imagination. Whereas if they were to construct an image from their memory, their eyes will move up and to the right as they access the memory center of their brain.

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    When asking someone to recall auditory events, the same rules apply although their eyes will be more centered rather than up, with a left movement indicating a fabricated auditory moment and the right being based off memory. So while movement of the eyes doesn’t instantly indicate a lie, it can indicate whether their answers may be of their own construction or based from memory.

    2. Examine Their Facial Ticks

    fake smile
      Courtesy of https://flic.kr/p/33qt9Z

      First impressions are often lasting impressions. We unconsciously use what social scientists refer to as “micro-expressions” like momentary facial ticks to quickly understand someone.

      A true emotion will usually affect both sides of a person’s face equally. When a person smiles, look for facial symmetry, as this will indicate a genuine emotion. If a person is faking a smile they will hold that smile, thinking about it rather than feeling it. A fake smile can also be spotted when a person is using just the muscles of the mouth rather than their whole face as though they would with a genuine smile. This indicates that they are simply just trying to put on a smile while not realizing that a smile encompasses so much more than the muscles of the mouth.

      An even more obvious tell is for a person to subconsciously start biting their lips. This is an indication that they are hesitant to speak the words that are coming out of their mouth and is a bodily reaction to prevent the individual from speaking a lie. It could also be seen as a nervous habit displaying the unease the person may be feeling when providing you with false information.

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      3. Look for the Nervous Tell

      nervous tell
        Courtesy of https://flic.kr/p/4Boaov

        Generally, when a person lies they usually manifest outward nervous signs unconsciously, like fidgeting. Through this, their brain is trying to misdirect your attention, so as not to give away their guilt. Though some people are nervous by nature and fidget a lot anyway, you need to look for an increase in their normal behavior. Liars often try to hide or direct attention away from their body to avoid giving away too much information. When confronted with a question they may stand to the side of you or find ways of reducing their profile.

        These fidgeting tells could be unnatural movements which make them appear uncomfortable in the situation such as turning their head away, hiding their face with their hands, touching an external object or any movements which will take attention away from their eyes and face to prevent the other tells from being exposed.

        4. Read Their Hand and Arm Gestures

        open conversation
          Courtesy of https://flic.kr/p/e47eva

          When a person lies they tend to keep their hand and arm movements close to their body, keeping everything compact and close-in, as though they are overcompensating in attempting to assert control. The biggest, most obvious tell that a person is lying is when they put their hand to their face in some way (rubbing their nose, tugging their ear lobe, rubbing their eyes or forehead) when answering a question or describing an event.

          This is not only an indication that they might be nervous about providing those answers, it is a subconscious technique to cover their mouth, eyes, and face to prevent giving away further information displayed on their face, though this in itself is a strong indication of a lie.

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          I hope these four body language signs help you build your relationships. Let these be another tool in your arsenal of communication to encourage authentic communication rather than using a tell as leverage to undermine another person.

          Featured photo credit: @yourdon on Flickr via flic.kr

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          Last Updated on November 18, 2020

          50 Habits of Highly Successful People You Should Learn

          50 Habits of Highly Successful People You Should Learn

          If you’re like me and really into self-development, you’ve probably read many of the thousands of self-help books out there on the market. But also like me, you probably find all the information a bit overwhelming.

          That’s why I wanted to do the self-less task of taking the most important, life-changing lessons I’ve drawn from these books and condensed them into 50 key points.

          Here’re 50 habits of successful people you should learn:

          1. Believe It to See It

          Our minds tend to focus on what’s happening around us and refuse to see what could happen. Only when you trust in what’s possible and dare to dream big, big things can happen for you.

          2. See Problems as a Wonderful Gift

          While others only see problems and give up, successful people use the problem as a lesson to find improvement in themselves or the task at hand.

          3. Keep Looking for Solutions

          Even if they’re knee-deep in problems, successful people will still put all of their focus on finding solutions.

          4. Remember It’s All About the Journey

          Successful people are conscious and methodical in creating their own success. They don’t sit around doing the bare minimum, hoping success finds them.

          5. Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway

          There’s so much fear on the road to success, but instead of letting that fear control and limit them, successful people do a good job of just forging ahead regardless.

          6. Always Ask Productive Questions

          It’s all about asking the right questions. Successful people make sure they are questions that will elicit information for a more productive, creative and positive mindset moving forward.

          7. Understand the Best Waste of Energy Is Complaining

          Successful people know that choosing to see the negative side of things will only create a useless and unproductive state.

          8. Don’t Play the Blame Game

          Taking responsibility for actions and outcomes is a form of empowerment that you can build your success upon. While the act of blaming others or outside circumstances takes this empowerment away from you.

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          9. Maximize Your Strengths

          Not every successful person is simply more talented than the rest, but they do use what they know they’re good at to achieve more successful results.

          10. Be in It to Win It

          Successful people are busy, productive and proactive. Instead of sitting around over-thinking and over-planning a great idea, they just take a step towards it no matter how small.

          11. Know That Success Attracts Success

          People who are successful surround themselves and seek out like-minded people. They understand the importance of being part of a team and forge win-win relationships.

          12. Actually Choose to Be Successful

          Dreaming big is a massive part of being successful even if your dream seems impossible. Ambition is a mindset that needs to be a daily conscious choice.

          13. Visualize, Visualize, Visualize!

          You’ve got to see your success in your mind’s eye even before it comes. Successful people clarify and get that certainty about what they want their reality to look like rather than being mere spectators of life.

          14. Be a One-Off Original

          Successful people look for what’s working and then create a unique spin on it. Imitating only regurgitates other people’s ideas with no originality.

          15. The Perfect Time to Act Is Now

          Waiting for the right time to act is basically procrastination wrapped up in an excuse. Successful people know there’s never a perfect time so they may as well just do it now.

          16. Keep Learning, Keep Growing

          Continuous learning is the key to a successful life. Whether it’s academic, being a student of life or actionable learning, it’s all about expanding your knowledge and personal development.

          17. Always Look on the Bright Side of Life

          Successful people have the knack for finding positive aspects in all people and circumstances no matter what.

          18. Having a Bad Day? Do It Anyway!

          We all have bad moods but it shouldn’t be an excuse to stop everything. Giving into a bad mood just stop-starts your life, slowing success way down.

          19. Sometimes Risky Business Is Needed

          Calculated risks are a must for success. It’s about weighing the pros and cons while moving forward with that element of trust.

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          20. Accept Challenge All the Time

          Dealing with problems head-on is a must to be successful. Successful people also face challenges in order to improve themselves.

          21. Make Your Own Luck

          In the mindset of a successful person, there’s no such thing as ‘luck’ or ‘fate’. They take control to actively and consciously create their own best life.

          22. Ignite Your Initiative

          While many people are reactive, successful people are proactive – taking action before they have to.

          23. Be the Master of Your Emotions

          Being effective at managing emotions is key on the road to success. That’s not to say successful people don’t feel like we all do, but they’re just not slaves to their emotions.

          24. Champion in Communication

          Consciously working on effective communication skills gets anyone closer to success.

          25. Plan Your Life Strategically

          Successful people’s lives aren’t a clumsy series of unplanned events and outcomes, they methodically work at turning their plans into a reality.

          26. Become Exceptional at What You Do

          To become exceptional, you typically have to do things that most won’t. To become successful, hard decisions need to be made and acting on them is crucial.

          27. Choose to Live Outside of Your Comfort Zone

          While many people are pleasure junkies and avoid pain and discomfort at all costs, successful people understand the value and benefits of working through the tough stuff that most would avoid.

          28. Live by Core Values

          Successful people firstly identify their core values and what’s important to them, then do their best to live a life that reflects these values.

          29. Realize Money Isn’t Everything

          Money and success are not interchangeable and the most successful people understand this. Putting money on a pedestal and equating it to success is a dangerous mindset to have. Success comes in many forms.

          30. Don’t Get Carried Away

          Successful people understand the importance of discipline and self-control and as a result they are happy to take the road less travelled.

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          31. Self-Worth Is Not Tied to Success

          Successful people are secure. They do not derive their self-worth from what they own, who they know, where they live or what they look like.

          32. Kindness Breeds Kindness (And Success)

          Generosity and kindness is a common trait among long-term successful people. It’s important to take pleasure in helping others achieve.

          33. More Humility, Less Arrogance

          Successful people are humble and happy to admit and apologize for mistakes. This is because they’re confident in their ability. They are happy to learn from others and happy to make others look good rather than seek their own personal glory.

          34. Change Opens New Doors

          People who are successful are adaptable and embrace change, while the majority are creatures of comfort and habit. They are comfortable with, and embrace, the new and the unfamiliar.

          35. Success Requires a Healthy Body

          It’s not just how you think, it’s about how you show up for success. Successful people understand the importance of being physically well, not for vain reasons but because being in tiptop condition creates a better personal life for success.

          36. Laziness Just Doesn’t Exist

          Successful people are never considered lazy. Yes, they can relax when they need to, but working hard is their game.

          37. Resilience by the Bucket Load

          When difficulty strikes, most would throw in the towel, but successful people are just warming up.

          38. Feedback Is Just Another Chance to Improve

          How people react to feedback determines their potential for success. Being open to constructive criticism and acting on it to improve is most seen in those who are successful.

          39. Your Vibe Attracts Your Tribe

          If people are hanging out with toxic and negative people, then they need to take a look at themselves. Successful people hang out with others who are positive and supportive.

          40. Can’t Control It? Forget It

          Successful people don’t invest time or emotional energy into things which they have no control of.

          41. Swim Against the Tide

          Successful people are not people-pleasers and they don’t need constant approval from others in order to move ahead.

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          42. Alone Time Is Valuable Time

          More self-worth means being more comfortable with your own company. Successful people are more happy and see the value in spending time alone.

          43. Self-Standard Is Higher Than Most

          Everyone has a choice to set high standards for themselves. Successful people do this, which in turn produces greater commitment, more momentum, a better work ethic and of course, better results.

          44. Failure Isn’t Rationalized

          While many use age, health, lack of time, ‘bad luck’, or lack of opportunity to explain away their failure, the key to success is finding a way to succeed despite facing these challenges.

          45. Down Time Is an Important Part of a Routine

          Having an off switch and taking time to do things that make them happy is a common trait of a successful person. Take a look at here The Importance of Scheduling Downtime.

          46. Career Isn’t Who You Are, It’s What You Do

          Successful people know their career isn’t their identity. They are multi-dimensional and don’t define themselves by their job.

          47. Be Interested in Only the Path of Resistance

          While most people look for the easiest way or the shortcut, successful people are more interested in the most effective way. They look for the course of action which will produce the best results over the long term.

          48. Follow Through

          Many spend their life starting things that they never finish, but successful people get the job done. Even when the excitement and the novelty has worn off they still follow through and finish.

          49. Invest in All Your Dimensions

          We’re not just physical and psychological beings, but emotional and spiritual creatures as well. Successful people consciously work at being healthy and productive on all levels.

          50. Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

          To obtain success, it’s important to practice what you preach. Successful people don’t talk about the theory, they live the reality.

          So there you have it, a summary of what I’ve learned from self-help books. But of course, you need to start taking actions so you will get closer to success too.

          Bonus: 5 Bad Habits To Quit

          More About Success

          Featured photo credit: Juan Jose via unsplash.com

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