Tips on How to Detect a Liar
Questioning suspects is often a big part of an investigation. Nonetheless, one of the hardest parts of talking with suspects is trying to determine if they are telling the truth. There is no sure-fire way to detect a liar, not even a lie detector is 100% accurate. However, there are little things that you can look for and do to give yourself a better chance of telling if someone is lying to you. Three particular areas you should pay attention to are; body language, verbal expressions and eye contact.
Learn to read body language. Although it is not exact science, many investigators have noticed certain common tendencies that people have when they are not telling the truth. A person who is lying will often try to maintain distance from the person who is questioning them. They will often keep objects, tables, desks or even a book between them and the questioner. Liars will also often rub parts of their face; for example, they might scratch their chin or their nose.
Liars often have a closed body position. They cross their legs and/or their arms and they often keep very tight to themselves. They also tend to be more rigid in their posture. A person who is telling the truth tends to present a more relaxed and open body position and attitude.
Another thing to be aware of is the way that a person answer questions. People who are lying tend to use certain speech patterns. A person who is lying will often repeat back to the questioner part of the question. For example, if the questioner asks “Did you go to the bar last night?” A liar would answer, “No, I did not go to the bar last night” whereas a person who has nothing to hide more often than not will just answer with a simple “No.”
Another verbal clue to look for is long pauses in a person’s speech. A person who is lying will often use a lot of “Ummmmms” and “Ahhhhhhs” almost as though they have to stop and rethink things before they answer. A person who is telling the truth will not have the same hesitations.
It used to be taught that a person who was lying would not look you right in the face but this is seldom the case anymore. A well-practiced liar will have no difficulty looking you directly in the face and lying. However, you can watch for rapid eye movements. Liars tend not to focus for long on one thing and they will often blink more.
None of these ideas are exact. Probably the best thing that you can do to try to figure out if someone is lying is to get a feel for how the person responds when they are telling the truth. The better you get at recognizing a truthful answer the easier it will be for you to spot a lie.
The Conundrum Technique – Simply ask one question!
If you suspect that someone is simply telling you a story when questioned about a specific matter you may want to use what is called the conundrum technique to determine if they are being truthful. It simply involves introducing a piece of evidence and seeing how the suspected liar handles it.
For example, lets say that a women suspects that her husband may not have stayed late at the office as he claims. After he states that he had to work late she might simply ask the following:
“Oh Geezz, no wonder your so late, I heard about the accident outside your office building. Was the traffic as bad as they claimed on the radio?”
Now all she has to do is wait and see how he responds. If he quickly answers that there was no accident, she has a good indication that indeed he was at the office as he claims. However, should he hesitate in his answer and/or simply agree that the traffic was terrible, she has caught him in his lie.