Lies are at the root of many human disputes, from relationships to murder investigations, dishonesty is a constant source of confusion and conflict. For anyone dealing with someone they don’t trust, it can seem impossible to know for sure what they are really thinking and what really happened. Unfortunately, for the most part it is impossible to determine a lie from a true statement, but here are three key ways that you can get a better idea of what someone is really thinking:
Facial Expressions And Eye Movements
Many researchers point to the face and eyes as the real testers for if someone is lying to you. Many people mistakenly believe that a lack of eye contact is a great indication that someone is lying to them, while in fact new research suggests just the opposite. It seems that liars will often maintain an unnatural amount of eye contact in an effort to convince the other person of their truthfulness. Other signs include longer blinking than normal, and micro expressions—a flash of distress in the eyes and brows before the person calms down in an effort to look more natural.
Business Insider has pointed out some of the more subtle ways to determine if a person is lying based on recent research. Again, the movements of the head are very important for trying to get a glimpse into what’s going on inside that brain. A quick change of the direction of someone’s head such as jerking up or down or tiling to the side is a good indicator that the person is not being entirely honest. Other telltale signs include changes in breathing, standing very still, and touching or covering the mouth. You can also look for fidgety movements like feet shuffling, covering of certain body parts, and pointing or over-gesturing with their fingers.
A polygraph is a machine invented in Berkeley, California in 1921 according to the Polygraph Examiner. Dr. John A. Larson constructed the machine in an effort to turn these signs from the body into hard data that could be analyzed by a professional examiner. The polygraph records blood pressure, perspiration, and heart rate throughout an interrogation, giving the polygrapher ample data to see how the person responds to different questions.
There are usually simple, control questions, like what is your name? How old are you? Followed up by difficult questions that people want to test the veracity of such as are you cheating on your wife? Were you at home Tuesday night? The legitimacy of polygraphs has been often disputed, and in many places they are not valid as evidence in a court of law. However, police departments continue to use them as an interrogation tactic and many people voluntarily take them to help sway opinion about their statements. Some people claim that they are only 50% accurate while the American Polygraph Association boasts an accuracy rate of 90%.