Before we delve into examples of how my undercover cop hero (or you) might tell if someone is lying, I must warn you that it’s not a good idea to tell others about their signs of deception.
An intelligent liar will merely use the information to throw you off the next time. Hmm, now that might be an interesting plot twist!
On to the examples:
1) Frequently pausing before answering questions (if this is not a normal speech pattern) can be a strong indicator of deception, while stuttering or mumbling are generally not reliable indicators.
2) Nervous laughter might be a sign of evasiveness, or it might simply be a release of stress. But a single deep sigh after a subject has been uncooperative, often signals a readiness to confess.
3) Hand movement to the mouth, nose, eyes, or ears while talking often indicates deception.
4) Contrary to popular opinion, using the eyes to identify deception is unreliable. There are a lot more variables at play in whether someone frequently breaks eye contact, or moves their eyes in a certain direction.
5) Of course…since #4 is a popular belief, a liar may go out of his way to maintain eye contact to convince you of the truth of what he’s saying. An interesting observation I might use in my next cop story. *grin*
6) The movement of a person’s body away from you (often toward the door) is a strong indicator of deception, especially if accompanied by other cues.
7) Bargaining. “I was keeping up with traffic, not speeding.” Or a politician may have “misspoke” or been “quoted out of context.” These are all examples of attempts to disguise reality.
8) Attempt to remake the interrogator’s image of him, for example, by saying, “I’m a veteran.” or “I’m a faithful husband.” or “I’m a good employee.”
9) Attempts to stall. Examples: answering a question with a question; pretending didn’t hear; cough, repeating the question.
10) There are many more examples (and cautions) in the book, but I’ll end with the use of blocking statements. Example: “Why would I lie about something like that?”
Your Turn: Can you think of a memorable line or action you’ve seen in movies or read in books where someone is lying?
Like Lie to Me when they’d point out a “tell” then flash clips of famous politicians who’d been caught doing that very thing, such as Clinton touching his nose during his testimony about Monica Lewinsky.
Giveaway Notice: Kav has posted a fabulous review of my March release and is giving away a copy to one commenter this week, plus a copy of a January LI book of their choice! Here’s the link: http://bestreads-kav.blogspot.com/2012/01/shades-of-truth.html