Hey there, Steve here and welcome to this week’s private eye post where I’ll go over some of the key body language mastery basics — 5 reliable indicators displayed by people when they’re lying.
Over the last 200.000 years, our freeze-flight-fight response has adapted from caveman times where we might need to hide or run from a predator. Nowadays, the same part of our brain (the lizard brain) uses these same reactions in social situations.
When these “instincts” kick in, the more developed parts of our brains attempt to control the reactions, so as not to “give anything away.” (This is the exact reason that micro expressions are so reliable — they’re just difficult for most people to see without slowing down video footage.)
So, let’s see how the initial reactions and the attempt at control translate into these 5 reliable indicators of lying.
Disclaimer: This information is for general educational purposes only and may not apply to all situations — everyone is unique after all. For help with an individual situation, please contact us —the first call is free, and we may just be able to put your mind at rest!
1 — As If Caught In Headlights
Let’s suppose your partner is cheating, and you’re having a chat with them about their day. They have to lie to you about how they spent their time.
In readiness for a potential confrontation (fight response) they may appear very still (freeze.) This is the opposite of what most people expect, which is that people tend to fidget when they’re nervous.
The way to detect this is to observe your partner in normal conversation. Most people move around in subtle and relaxed ways when they’re comfortable with the person they’re speaking with.
So, if your partner is almost catatonic, the question to ask in your head is, “What is the potential confrontation they’re preparing for?“
2 — The Head Shift
If you ask a question and your partner, who has been sitting or standing very still, suddenly cocks, tilts or jerks back their head sharply, it’s often an indication they’re about to answer with a lie. It’s a natural part of the fight response as if they’re readying themselves for the confrontation.
3 — Huff And Puff
When our bodies are readying themselves for a confrontation (the lie is part of the fight) many physical changes happen to our body. Adrenaline is released. Our heart rate increases. Blood flows to different parts of our body.
And usually, our breathing increases to get the extra oxygen we’re going to need.
So, many unaccomplished liars breathe heavily — they will look out of breath in some cases. (It’s usually followed by swallowing in an attempt to calm themselves down.)
4 — Covering Up
A common sign of deceit in young children is to cover their mouths when they tell a lie. In adults, this tends to manifest as touching the mouth, nose, chin or ears. It’s a sign they’re keeping something hidden.
Another cover-up sign is when something strikes a chord and the natural instinct is to cover the vulnerable body parts. I’m talking about things like the throat (especially common in women), chest, abdomen or head.
5 — Everybody’s Shuffling
The feet typically provide the most reliable body language signals. They point at people we like and turn away when we want to leave a conversation. When people lie they tend to shuffle their feet — it’s the body’s way of saying, “I’m not happy with this situation and I want to walk away and leave.” In essence, the modern-day equivalent of the flight response.
The best way to get good at spotting the signs of body language and interpreting the correct meaning is to simply observe as much as possible. Then try to fit the behaviour into the situation and see if you can predict what someone is about to do or say based on your observations. For suspected liars and cheats, try to fit the signs into the freeze-fight-flight response.
Follow us on Facebook for more information on the body language of cheats and liars, and how to get help if you think you need to.
Until next week,