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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 30, 2019

              How the Stages of Change Model Helps You Change Your Habits

              How the Stages of Change Model Helps You Change Your Habits

              Change is tough, there’s no doubt about it. Old habits are hard to shift, and adopting a new lifestyle can feel like an uphill battle!

              In this article, you will learn about a simple yet powerful model:

              Stages of change model, that explains the science behind personal transformation.

              You’ll discover how and why some changes stick whereas others don’t last, and how long it takes to build new habits.

              What is the Stages of Change Model?

              Developed by researchers J.O. Prochaska and Carlo C. DiClemente over 30 years ago[1] and outlined in their book Changing For Good, the Stages of Change Model, also known as the Transtheoretical Model, was formed as a result of the authors’ research with smokers.

              Prochaska and DiClemente were originally interested in the question of why some smokers were able to quit on their own, whereas others required professional help. Their key conclusion was that smokers (or anyone else with a bad habit) quits only when they are ready to do so.

              Here’s an illustration done by cartoonist and illustrator Simon Kneebone about the different stages a smoker experiences when they try to quit smoking:

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                The Stages of Change Model looks at how these conscious decisions are made. It emphasizes that change isn’t easy. People can spend a long time stuck in a stage, and some may never reach their goals.[2]

                The model has been applied in the treatment of smoking, alcoholism, and drugs. It is also a useful way of thinking about any bad habit. Social workers, therapists, and psychologists draw on the model to understand their patients’ behaviors, and to explain the change process to the patients themselves.

                The key advantages to the model is that it is simple to understand, is backed by extensive research, and can be applied in many situations.

                The Stages of Change Model is a well-established psychological model that outlines six stages of personal change:

                1. Precontemplation
                2. Contemplation
                3. Determination
                4. Action
                5. Maintenance
                6. Termination

                How are these stages relevant to changing habits?

                To help you visualize the stages of change and how each progresses to the next one, please take a look at this wheel:[3]

                  Let’s look at the six stages of change,[4] together with an example that will show you how the model works in practice:

                  Stage 1: Precontemplation

                  At this stage, an individual does not plan to make any positive changes in the next six months. This may because they are in denial about their problem, feel too overwhelmed to deal with it, or are too discouraged after multiple failed attempts to change.

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                  For example, someone may be aware that they need to start exercising, but cannot find the motivation to do so. They might keep thinking about the last time they tried (and failed) to work out regularly. Only when they start to realize the advantages of making a change will they progress to the next stage.

                  Stage 2: Contemplation

                  At this stage, the individual starts to consider the advantages of changing. They start to acknowledge that altering their habits would probably benefit them, but they spend a lot of time thinking about the downside of doing so. This stage can last for a long time – possibly a year or more.

                  You can think of this as the procrastinating stage. For example, an individual begins to seriously consider the benefits of regular exercise, but feels resistant when they think about the time and effort involved. When the person starts putting together a concrete plan for change, they move to the next stage.

                  The key to moving from this stage to the next is the transformation of an abstract idea to a belief (e.g. from “Exercise is a good, sensible thing to do” to “I personally value exercise and need to do it.)[5]

                  Stage 3: Preparation

                  At this point, the person starts to put a plan in place. This stage is brief, lasting a few weeks. For example, they may book a session with a personal trainer and enrol on a nutrition course.

                  Someone who drinks to excess may make an appointment with a drug and alcohol counsellor; someone with a tendency to overwork themselves might start planning ways to devise a more realistic schedule.

                  Stage 4: Action

                  When they have decided on a plan, the individual must then put it into action. This stage typically lasts for several months. In our example, the person would begin attending the gym regularly and overhauling their diet.

                  Stage 4 is the stage at which the person’s desire for change becomes noticeable to family and friends. However, in truth, the change process began a long time ago. If someone you know seems to have suddenly changed their habits, it’s probably not so sudden after all! They will have progressed through Stages 1-3 first – you probably just didn’t know about it.

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                  Stage 5: Maintenance

                  After a few months in the Action stage, the individual will start to think about how they can maintain their changes, and make lifestyle adjustments accordingly. For instance, someone who has adopted the habit of regular workouts and a better diet will be vigilant against old triggers (such as eating junk food during a stressful time at work) and make a conscious decision to protect their new habits.

                  Unless someone actively engages with Stage 5, their new habits are liable to come unstuck. Someone who has stuck to their new habits for many months – perhaps a year or longer – may enter Stage 6.

                  Maintenance can be challenging because it entails coming up with a new set of habits to lock change in place. For instance, someone who is maintaining their new gym-going habit may have to start improving their budgeting skills in order to continue to afford their gym membership.

                  Stage 6: Termination

                  Not many people reach this stage, which is characterized by a complete commitment to the new habit and a certainty that they will never go back to their old ways. For example, someone may find it hard to imagine giving up their gym routine, and feel ill at the thought of eating junk food on a regular basis.

                  However, for the majority of people, it’s normal to stay in the Maintenance period indefinitely. This is because it takes a long time for a new habit to become so automatic and natural that it sticks forever, with little effort. To use another example, an ex-smoker will often find it hard to resist the temptation to have “just one” cigarette even a year or so after quitting. It can take years for them to truly reach the Termination stage, at which point they are no more likely to smoke than a lifelong non-smoker.

                  How long does each stage take?

                  You should be aware that some people remain in the same stage for months or even years at a time. Understanding this model will help you be more patient with yourself when making a change. If you try to force yourself to jump from Contemplation to Maintenance, you’ll just end up frustrated. On the other hand, if you take a moment to assess where you are in the change process, you can adapt your approach.

                  So if you need to make changes quickly and you are finding it hard to progress to the next stage, it’s probably time to get some professional help or adopt a new approach to forming habits.

                  The limitations of this model

                  The model is best applied when you decide in advance precisely what you want to achieve, and know exactly how you will measure it (e.g. number of times per week you go to the gym, or number of cigarettes smoked per day). Although the model has proven useful for many people, it does have limitations.

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                  Require the ability to set a realistic goal

                  For a start, there are no surefire ways of assessing whereabouts in the process you are – you just have to be honest with yourself and use your own judgement. Second, it assumes that you are physically capable of making a change, whereas in fact you might either need to adjust your goals or seek professional help.

                  If your goal isn’t realistic, it doesn’t matter whether you follow the stages – you still won’t get results. You need to decide for yourself whether your aims are reasonable.[6]

                  Difficult to judge your progress

                  The model also assumes that you are able to objectively measure your own successes and failures, which may not always be the case.[7] For instance, let’s suppose that you are trying to get into the habit of counting calories as part of your weight-loss efforts. However, even though you may think that you are recording your intake properly, you might be over or under-estimating.

                  Research shows that most people think they are getting enough exercise and eating well, but in actual fact aren’t as healthy as they believe. The model doesn’t take this possibility into account, meaning that you could believe yourself to be in the Action stage yet aren’t seeing results. Therefore, if you are serious about making changes, it may be best to get some expert advice so that you can be sure the changes you are making really will make a positive difference.

                  Conclusion

                  The Stages Of Change Model can be a wonderful way to understand change in both yourself and others.

                  While there’re some limitations in it, the Stages of Change Model helps to visualize how you go through changes so you know what to expect when you’re trying to change a habit or make some great changes in life.

                  Start by identifying one of your bad habits. Where are you in the process? What could you do next to move forwards?

                  Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

                  Reference

                  [1] Psych Central: Stages Of Change
                  [2] Boston University School Of Public Health: The Transtheoretical Model (Stages Of Change)
                  [3] Empowering Change: Stages of Change
                  [4] Boston University School Of Public Health: The Transtheoretical Model (Stages Of Change)
                  [5] Psychology Today: 5 Steps To Changing Any Behavior
                  [6] The Transtheoretical Model: Limitations Of The Transtheoretical Model
                  [7] Health Education Research: Transtheoretical Model & Stages Of Change: A Critique

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