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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 January 21, 2020

          The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

          The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

          Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

          your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

            Why You Need a Vision

            Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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            How to Create Your Life Vision

            Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

            What Do You Want?

            The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

            It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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            Some tips to guide you:

            • Remember to ask why you want certain things
            • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
            • Give yourself permission to dream.
            • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
            • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

            Some questions to start your exploration:

            • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
            • What would you like to have more of in your life?
            • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
            • What are your secret passions and dreams?
            • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
            • What do you want your relationships to be like?
            • What qualities would you like to develop?
            • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
            • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
            • What would you most like to accomplish?
            • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

            It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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            What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

            Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

            A few prompts to get you started:

            • What will you have accomplished already?
            • How will you feel about yourself?
            • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
            • What does your ideal day look like?
            • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
            • What would you be doing?
            • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
            • How are you dressed?
            • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
            • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
            • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

            It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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            Plan Backwards

            It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

            • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
            • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
            • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
            • What important actions would you have had to take?
            • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
            • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
            • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
            • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
            • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

            Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

            It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

            Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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