How To Spot Liars

Liar, liar pants on fire! Wish it were that easy to spot someone who lies. Let’s face it, you wouldn’t be able to spot a liar these days even if you were able to interrogate him for a couple of hours. Forming a cohesive and blatantly convincing story seems to be second nature to these people. So how then do you spot someone who lies? Short of a polygraph test, here are some ways you can determine a lie.

  • Try to find gaps in the story. Liars are great storytellers and chances are, he will get to brag once in a while about their experiences. Whenever you find the suspected liar in this binge, it is probably the best opportunity to find out just how good his story is. “I’ve been to Singapore last August and shopped to my heart’s content!” says the liar. “Yea, I’ve heard the Great Singapore Sale has a lot of bargain items.” you say. Of course, at this point, you know that the Singapore sale starts around May and ends sometime July. If the liar bites into your statement, you got ‘em!
  • Observe eye movements. This is arguably the best gauge if someone is lying. A liar, more often than not, cannot constantly maintain eye contact. A gaze downward and to the left indicates he or she is conjuring some lie. Looking upward to the right however means he or she is accessing the memory portion of the brain and is therefore giving you an answer or statement from actual memory. On the opposite end though is an ‘urban myth’ of having dilated pupils when one is lying. Pupil dilation may have different factors involved such as change of ambient lighting to a feeling of excitement. It would therefore be inaccurate to assume that one is lying as a result of pupil dilation. Squinting and blinking a lot however could be good indicators.
  • Body language. Tapping of the fingers and shuffling of feet indicate that a person is somewhat tense. A hand or both hands in the pocket can be a sign as well. A person lying has an involuntary reflex of not showing his or her palms to the other person.
  • Changes in voice and body chemistry. Some people, especially men have a tendency to speak at a slightly higher tone than normal. This is usually coupled with stammering and/or shivering of the voice. Give notice of dripping sweat from the forehead and neck areas in an otherwise cool day or sweaty palms. If you are extremely observant, you can be able to detect a liar’s pulse through the movement of the skin around or near the neck area around the jugular vein.

To better your chances of spotting a liar, at least a combination or two of the indicators above would suffice coupled with a little ‘gut feel’ and a good historical account of the person could support the claim. At the end of the day though, there are no absolute and reliable ways to determine if a person is lying other than if he confesses to it or if the heavens part and lightning strikes him twice.


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