The Truth about Lying ~ Part 2

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:


The Truth about Lying

Since the heroes of my Love Inspired Suspense series are undercover cops… 

Lying is pretty much part of the job description. Whether they call it misleading, hedging, evading, fabricating, falsifying, distorting, misrepresenting, or spinning the truth, it’s all deception. 

Since I’m working on a fourth book in the series (fingers crossed), I thought I’d read The Truth about Lying by Stan B. Walters, a provider of interview and interrogation services, as well as, training to business, industry and law enforcement agencies throughout the U.S. (He’s also known as The Lie Guy.)

I figured it would be a great resource from which to glean little “tells” that my cops can notice in suspects that are lying to them, not to mention, those my hero might exhibit while interacting with the heroine.

But the book has so much more–information you might like to know when that car salesman says this is the absolute best deal he can give you, or when your teenage son swears he’s never touched drugs.

Wednesday I’ll share some of the “tells”. Today, I want to share the key factors that exist when lying takes place: choice, ability and opportunity.

Choice – The person chooses to lie to either gain reward or avoid punishment, or because he’s unsure of the consequences of admitting the truth. The more that seems at stake, the more compelled he’ll be to lie.

Ability – good communication skills and intellect enhance a liar’s ability to lie well.

Opportunity – this is the only factor under the interrogator’s (or parent’s or shopper’s) control. To avoid being lied to make it unrewarding. If you can spot and challenge lies as they occur, the liar may be less likely to try again, or he may show more signs of deceit, thereby exposing himself.

Which brings us to an interesting topic of discussion: What’s our own role in encouraging deception?

As Mr. Walters says, no matter how good we get at detecting a lie, we’ll set ourselves up to be lied to if people are afraid to tell us the truth.

Your Turn: These questions are from the book. Please share what you’re comfortable with, perhaps examples from your own teen experiences or raising your children or buying that used car. *grin*

Do you make it difficult for people to tell you the truth as they see it because you react emotionally? Do you violently express hurt feelings? Are you easily offended? Do you punish your children if they admit they’ve done something wrong?