Erratic breathing to fidgeting – how to tell when someone is lying

CAN you tell when someone is telling a porkie?

A new study by Amazon’s Kindle Storyteller Award found that one in ten people falsely claim to have dated someone famous, while a similar number say they have bedded 50 people.


Body language expert Judi James reveals the tell-tale signs to reveal a fibberCredit: Shutterstock

Body language expert Judi James reveals the tell-tale signs to reveal a fibber.

Erratic breathing: “If, like most of us, they’ve been brought up to feel guilty about lying, they’ll get a stress response. This can mean more shallow breathing as well as being breathless.”

Poker face/body: “You get one of two extremes, the poker face/body, where they don’t move much at all because they are aware they might give themselves away. Or when the person almost enjoys the performance you’ll get a non-verbal diarrhoea, where they start waving their hands around.”

Changing the subject: “This is what politicians do, answer the question they would rather have been asked. If you say, ‘I think you’ve been cheating’, they’ll throw it back with an accusation of their own, such as, ‘Did you look at my phone?’ Or they’ll return a question with a question, like, ‘Are you saying I’m lying?’ Those are the really crafty people.”

Covering their mouth: “There will often be what’s called a cut-off, where they cover parts of their face, like their mouth. Usually it is a sign of guilt, because they are trying to keep their words in. They don’t want to speak the lie.”

Touching their nose: “This is the Pinocchio effect, because when we lie our noses do get bigger. Invisible to the naked eye, it is a swelling of the blood vessels. It can itch, so the hand goes to the nose.”

Long pauses: “Your brain comes up with the honest answer first. You have to suppress that, then create the lie and then work out how to present it.”

Having a wide grin: “Some people try to act as if everything is all right, but it will often be just a gesture with the mouth. A genuine smile starts with the eyes. If it doesn’t reach the eyes, they’re lying.”

Blinking wildly or not at all: “People often look away when they are lying. Or they’ll stare you out with no blinking. The accelerated blink rate is prompted by adrenalin caused by feelings of guilt.”

Looking to the right: “When someone looks to their left they’re going into their recalled memory and trying to remember. But if they look to their right — the imaginative side of the brain — they could be making something up.”

Fidgeting: “Hands twiddling or feet tapping are signs they are under pressure. When we feel uncomfortable there are movements we are unaware of, referred to as leakage. The hands and feet often don’t like to join in with the lie and will show their discomfort.

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