The Science-Backed Way to Tell If You're Being Lied To

Dacy Knight
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Few things are more frustrating than being lied to, but in many situations, it's not always easy to get to the bottom of what's true and what's not. Whether you're dealing with co-workers, roommates, or relatives, navigating other people's lies can be tricky and touchy, but there's a strategy presented by psychologists that could help you tell when someone is lying—and even get them to admit it.

Timothy Luke and his colleagues at John Jay College developed a technique called the Strategic Use of Evidence (SUE) procedure for law enforcement officers to determine whether or not they're being lied to during criminal suspect interviews. The trick of the SUE procedure is using a funneling approach when confronting the individual you suspect is lying. A natural strategy is to get right to the point, presenting the facts you know and calling the other person out where you think there are inconsistencies.

Instead, Luke and his colleagues suggest you begin with a question that allows them a broad, free narrative of the event in question—be it sending an email, paying the bills, or taking care of another matter. After they have provided their account, you begin asking increasingly specific questions. As the individual is put in a position where they must come up with a new lie, they must decide whether to continue attempting to cover their tracks or simply come clean.

Head to the comments to share your thoughts on this strategy.

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