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How to Spot a Liar within Seconds

How to Spot a Liar within Seconds

Lying is pretty high up on the list of negative traits. No one likes to find out they’ve been deceived, yet it’s something nearly all of us do on a regular basis.

According to James Patterson, author of The Day America Told the Truth, among two thousand Americans, 91 percent lied regularly both at home and at work.”

Surprised? Possibly not. Most people aren’t out to deceive us for selfish gain. With loved ones, you’re more likely to be lied to in order to save your feelings from being hurt and we’re usually none the wiser.

But what if you really want to know when you’re being lied to? Can you really tell if you read the signs well enough?

The Biggest Giveaway of a Liar

So how can you spot someone who’s lying? Words are hard to decipher when it comes to lying. What someone says can be rehearsed and controlled especially if a person is particularly good at it.

When it comes to spotting clues, actions really do speak louder than words because it’s all in a person’s gestures. Unlike words, these tend to be uncontrollable and automatic so to know the truth, you have to focus on the body language.

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The Crucial Body Language That Exposes a Liar

What exactly are the typical gestures people give away when spinning a lie?

These are the most common signs to look out for.

They smile less when lying

Research has found that people tend to smile less when they’re lying – and especially in men. In his research, Paul Ekman felt this reflects the idea that people associate lying with smiling and so enter into a double bluff by reducing the smile factor. If someone does smile while lying, it tends to be less genuine meaning they smile more quickly and hold it for longer.

They scratch their neck as they feel nervous

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    Another giveaway is when someone scratches the side of their neck just below the earlobe. This usually tends be done in a specific way – namely with the index finger of their dominant hand.

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    This is a typical signal of insecurity, doubt and uncertainty which is running through the mind of someone who isn’t telling the whole truth.

    They tend to touch their faces a lot

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      Bringing a hand to the face is probably one of the most common signs of deception. This could be covering their eyes or putting their hands on their forehead or cheek and most likely stems from childhood characteristics. Children often cover their mouths, cover their ears, or cover their eyes in order to stop talking, stop listening or stop seeing. These are always exaggerated but as we get older these gestures become quicker and less obvious yet still used subconsciously.

      It doesn’t always indicate blatant lying, however. It could just mean that the person is holding back information which for some can be seen as equally deceitful.

      They cover their mouths uconsciously

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        Covering the mouth, in particular, is a subconscious reflex that can literally mean someone is trying to suppress the deceitful words that are coming out of their mouth. It could manifest as a literal hand over the mouth or even a finger placed over the lips in a ‘ssshh’ gesture. This is likely to come from parents who may have made this gesture to indicate a desire to keep quiet but in adulthood, it could indicate an attempt for someone to tell themselves to withhold feelings or words.

        They touch their noses while talking

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          We’re all familiar with Pinocchio’s nose and the effect lying had on it. Scientists at the Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago has found the human nose actually expands whilst lying. This is caused by chemicals being released due to the pressure of telling a lie causing the tissue inside the nose to swell.

          While you won’t actually be able to see the effects, what does happen is this swelling can create a tingling sensation which the liar will want to itch therefore creating the nose touch.

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          They pull their collar as their neck tissues become more sensitive while lying

            This is a classic tell-tale sign of a liar and the reason behind it comes from the sensitivity of the delicate facial and neck tissues. When someone lies it creates a tingling sensation in these areas which the liar will want to touch. The pressure of lying also causes sweat to increase around the neck which is why the collar pull is so known.

            They rub their eyes so as to avoid looking at you

              This one is, again, stemmed from childhood. Children often cover their eyes when they don’t want to look at something and this doesn’t entirely leave us in adulthood. We will still subconsciously rub or touch the eye area when we don’t want to look at something (in this case the person we’re lying to). It’s the brain’s coping mechanism to block deceitfulness and the pressure of facing the person we’re deceiving.

              Actions Are More Honest Than Words

              With these signs, you’ll be less likely to be cheated by people no matter how sincere they sound. Sometimes you don’t even need to hear the true answer because you already get that from their body language. Practice observing these signals and spot out people who are lying to you.

              Featured photo credit: Burst via pexels.com

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              Brian Lee

              Chief of Product Management at Lifehack

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              Last Updated on October 14, 2020

              Psychologists Say It’s Really Possible To Change Our Personality

              Psychologists Say It’s Really Possible To Change Our Personality

              Do you feel that you can become a better person, but your personality is hindering you from doing so?

              Are you one of those people who is making a conscious effort to change, but no matter how hard you try, you remain a prisoner of your personality traits?

              Don’t lose hope – it is indeed possible to change your personality!

              Personality Crisis

              According to the widely accepted model of personality with over 50 years worth of research and study, there are five dimensions of our personality, known as the “Big Five:”

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              • Extraversion: People with high levels of this personality dimension are much more outgoing and tend to be more comfortable in social situations compared to others.
              • Agreeableness: Your level in this dimension determines whether you are more cooperative with other people or competitive (even to the point of being manipulative) with other people.
              • Conscientiousness: Thoughtful people who have high levels of this trait dimension are much more detail-oriented and driven.
              • Neuroticism: Moodiness and the propensity for sadness are associated with people who possess excessive amounts of this personality dimension.
              • Openness: Imaginative and insightful people are very receptive to change and new experiences, whereas those who are not are much more stubborn and reluctant to try out new things.

              These personality dimensions are further shaped by our genetics and our upbringing, the latter of which also involves our living environment and culture. These factors ultimately help shape your personality as you grow up, some of which could lead to personality disorders.

              However, your personality is never fully set in stone. In fact, it is not uncommon for adults to tweak their personalities as they prepare themselves for new challenges and life situations. For example, stubborn partners will find themselves making an effort to become more cooperative with their loved ones if they want their relationship to work. While these instances may not necessarily lead to positive results, it is evidence enough that changing your personality is not impossible.

              The question that begs to be asked is this:

              How Much Effort Are People Willing to Put in to Make That Change?

              According to a recent study at the University of Illinois, only 13% of respondents were satisfied with their personalities – most of them wanted to change for the better. However, instead of encouraging these people to get help from experts or take courses, R. Chris Fraley and Nathan Hudson conducted different tests instead to see if the respondents can quantify their personalities to make the necessary changes. The results of the test were published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, which you can view here.

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              The first experiment involved an introductory psychology class, who were educated about the Big Five personality dimensions and asked to grade their personalities by filling out a rating form. They were then asked if they wanted something to change in their personality over the 16-week period of this study. To do this, they needed to find a way to change their undesirable personality traits using goals and metrics to track their progress.

              Among the 135 participants, half joined the “change plan” condition, in which they were given writing assignments over the same period to assess the changes they need to make for their personalities. Every week, they were also required to complete additional writing assignments to evaluate their progress further. The other half were not asked to write – instead, they were placed in a controlled setting and were provided feedback about their development.

              The second experiment involved roughly the same number of participants. The only variable that Fraley and Hudson changed is that, instead of focusing on personality traits, they targeted daily behavior related to the traits that defined their personalities.

              The result of both experiments demonstrates the capacity for people to make breakthroughs with their personalities. Participants were able to make strides by getting better scores on personality traits that they wanted to improve. However, the comprehensive change plans only had a modest impact on the actual changes in personality. Also, the 16-week period for the study was not enough for the participants to make the drastic changes one might expect.

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              Steps to a Better You

              Now that you are aware that you can still change your personality, below are some proactive steps that you can take so you can make the change as early as possible.

              1. Do not let “labels” define you

              You are not a shy and timid person. Nor are you a cold and callous one. You are simply a person full of potential to change and become a better version of yourself every day. You can be anything, as long as you put your mind to it.

              2. Do good deeds

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              Getting rid of a terrible personality can start with doing something good. A study published in Motivation and Emotion suggests that engaging in acts of kindness allows you to overcome anxiety. Letting the focus from yourself shift to others leads to more opportunities for social engagement.

              3. Just wait

              If you cannot force change, then let it come to you. According to a study conducted at the University of Manchester and the London School of Economics, change that naturally takes place is not out of the question. The more you undergo transformative experiences in life as you grow older, the more chances that changes in your personality take place.

              At the end of the day, change is inevitable. As mentioned above, our personalities are shaped by our experiences in life. By exposing ourselves to positive experiences that we can live by and keeping an open mind for our own identities, there is no doubt that change for the better is indeed possible.

              Featured photo credit: https://unsplash.com/photos/GmoHIZ61eMo via unsplash.com

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