How to Tell When Someone Is Lying

Katie Sweeney

For years, I dated a guy who was constantly lying. When I look back at that relationship, I wonder how I never realized he was telling me lies. It’s caused me to put my guard up more than once, and sometimes when people cancel at the last minute or say something unbelievable, I think "Are they lying?" That’s why a recent LinkedIn article caught my eye. It reports on the studies of Robert Feldman, a psychologist at the University of Massachusetts whose 10 years of research prove that 60% of people lie during a typical 10-minute conversation. That’s a staggering amount of lies, and “while most of us have pretty good instincts when it comes to recognizing liars, we tend to talk ourselves out of believing (or, at least, acting on) what our instincts are telling us.” So what are the universal signs that illustrate a person may be in the middle of a lie? According to the story, we should look for the following indicators.

  • They cover their mouths.
  • They repeat themselves and provide too much detail.
  • They prepare for an escape.
  • Their words and body language don’t match.
  • Their breathing changes.
  • They change their typical patterns of eye movement.
  • They get aggressive.
  • They fidget.

Learn more about lying by reading Lying, Misleading, and What is Said: An Exploration in Philosophy of Language and in Ethics.

Have you caught someone in a lie recently?

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