Saturday, 21 October 2023 04:39

Watch out for these 9 ‘hidden’ signs that someone is lying to you, say psychology experts

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When telling the truth feels inconvenient, many people resort to less honest communication. They steer conversations away from certain topics, withhold key details, or sometimes they just flat-out lie.

As psychologists and professors of psychology, we wanted to look into the habits of proficient liars.

While writing our book "Big Liars: What Psychological Science Tells Us About Lying and How You Can Avoid Being Duped," we singled out some of the most common hidden traits and characteristics of especially successful liars.

Biggest signs that someone is lying

1. They are natural manipulators.

Good liars aren't nervous about manipulating others; rather, they are confident, dominant and relaxed as they exploit others.

2. They're great actors.

Lying, like other forms of impression management, is a game of projecting a specific version of oneself into the world. Good liars take the stage and play the role of an honest person.

3. They are adept at feigning emotions.

Whether expressing happiness, surprise, sadness or contempt, good liars can wrinkle their brows, raise their eyebrows, or bare their teeth in convincing ways that belie their true emotions.

Researchers have found that expressive people are viewed as likable, sympathetic, and honest.

4. They are prepared for the lie.

They rehearse and they plan. A well-prepared and organized narrative makes a lie seem natural and free from contradictions.

5. They say as little as is necessary.

The more a person speaks, the more they offer details that might undermine the lie. Effective liars say enough to be believed, but no more.

6. They are creative.

When being interrogated, you never know what question is going to come next, so the ability to create a realistic yet fake version of reality is imperative.

Those gifted with the facility to invent new ideas are the most successful.

7. They think fast.

People who take too long to respond or suddenly use time fillers, such as "um" and "uh," don't sound believable.

8. They have good memory.

When honest people are asked to recount a story on two separate occasions, they reconstruct a memory of what occurred. However, memory is imperfect and malleable, so their retelling often shifts and changes from one occasion to the next.

To avoid sounding dishonest, good liars avoid this reconstruction-on-the-fly strategy of storytelling. Instead, they focus on repeating the story as precisely as possible each time.

Their goal is to have zero variation between retellings. Zero variation means that listeners have no discrepancies to key in on.

9. They are good listeners.

They take the pulse of their audience, recognizing when their listeners want more information, when they are satisfied, when they start to grow suspicious, and when it is safe to change the topic.

They have learned to use deceit successfully to achieve their goals. If their lies consistently failed, they would likely abandon dishonesty and try something else.

How to avoid being lied to

One of the easiest ways to avoid being tricked is to verify their claims. Blatant lies often conflict with facts. Checking the facts leaves liars with less room to hide. When we lack evidence of a claim, we are less certain of its truthfulness.

In high stakes situations, such as banking transactions and car purchases, people demand proof of claims to avoid being fleeced by big liars.

Try to pay attention to the specific claims that are being made instead of the polished way they are being said.

Lies usually come crumbling down when we start probing and asking more questions about the parts that don't add up. If part of a story sounds just a little off, start scrutinizing the claim.

Lies often fall apart as soon as we start to scratch at the surface.

 

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