Why You Can't Spot a Liar Just by Looking - Deepstash
Myths about liars - what research says about it

According to deception researcher Maria Hartwig, it's a misconception that you can spot a liar by the way they act.

Despite decades of searching, researchers have found little evidence to support belief about liar's behaviors such as - averted gaze, rapid blinking, talking louder, shrugging, fidgeting, stuttering, movement of the hands, arms, or legs, exaggerated yawning, covering the mouth while speaking, whistling, excessive personal grooming .

None proved reliable indicators of a liar.

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Not all liars are alike

Deceivers can successfully hide nervousness. “The whole point is, liars do feel more nervous, but that’s an internal feeling as opposed to how they behave as observed by others.” says Ronald Fisher who trains FBI agents.

Even when the stakes are high, some liars can control their behavior to counter the stereotypes. 

So, behavioral analysis shouldn't be the end rule to decide whether someone is lying or not.

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What's more likely to reveal liars
  • Focusing on verbal cues, like strategically withholding evidence longer, allowing a person to speak more freely, can lead liars into contradictions. Experiments based on this showed significant improvement in lie detection accuracy rate.
  • Truth tellers usually report more details when verbally sketching a scene. It taps our spatial memory, power of recall. The UK police work with psychology researchers to use this type of interview to detect lies.

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