The Art of Lying
A guest post by Vidster from Defrosting Cold Cases
©2012 Joseph Giacalone
The easiest way to tell whether you are lying would be to look at your body language. Liars are known to avoid eye contact. They look past you or have they eyes fixed in an upward stare while they tell you what they want you to believe. There is limited movement of the arms and in particular, the hands. A liar’s hands are not in sync with the emotions such as touching your heart while you speak about something or someone dear to you. But the hands need not remain still. In fact, some liars fidget so much that they might as well give up the act!
Some say that the hands and the looks of liars and truth-tellers are crossed. A right-handed truth-teller’s eyes supposedly turn to the upper left corner when truthfully remembering. The right-handed liar’s eyes supposedly turn to the lower left corner. Vice-versa for left-handed liars and truth-tellers. I am not sure whether to trust this method especially when the person in front of you is a stranger whose behaviour you have not witnessed before under different circumstances.
The chair the liar sits on does not give support or a moment of rest. The liar sits firmly against the back support, arms often crossed, desperately trying to occupy as little personal space as possible. The truth-teller uses the chair. They hang, sit, lean forward, sit sideways, etc.
But the face is the most telling part of the body. Even when you think you are quite the actor, there are facial features that give you away. Try it out in front of the mirror if you don’t believe me! When you lie, your facial expressions are limited and do not involve your entire face.
Attitude between truth-tellers and liars differs as well. The liar goes into defense from the start whereas the truth-teller is ready for offense. The liar will try to get objects stationed between themselves and police such as preferring to sit at a table or getting items on the table exactly between them. The truth-teller does not care.
The liar will answer police’s questions with another question. The truth-teller’s sentences may contradict on first sight but in hindsight they make sense. Allow me to explain.
If the event we are talking about is for example a personal attack, the liar will tell you all about the attacker’s hobbies, how weird so-and-so was in school, etc. The liar will tell you lots of details of the situation leading up to the attack and from what happened afterwards. They do not provide many details about the attack itself.
The truth-teller will be able to tell you what the attack felt like, smelt like, what clothes were torn first and sometimes even volunteer where those clothes came from. The truth-teller can tell you whether they felt cold or warm during the attack, what body part started to hurt first, whether they were surprised that a certain punch did or did not hurt that much, etc. The truth-teller can tell you things about the surroundings, where they fell first (e.g.: on concrete, grass, wood, soil, etc.), whether they heard anything, smelled anything that triggered an unrelated memory. And then, they will feel embarrassed for telling police that memory.
Their statements will seems unconnected in this phase, maybe even contradict how they felt during the attack, but they make sense. The truth-teller can give you as much details about the events leading up to the attack and the aftermath but even more details of the attack itself. The liar on the other hand, has to guess. They may have a story ready but it lacks all the emotional and personal details.
The liar adds unnecessary details to cover that in fact, they have no information or, are lying and do not know the truth. Then, when police fall silent, the liar gets uncomfortable and that is easily noticeable. They sit back and cross their arms, they start to leave out pronouns, and do not object to changing the subject. The truth-teller will get irritated and will insist they stay on track to get the timeline correct.
The truth-teller will object against changing the subject before the previous one was finished to their satisfaction, not to the police’s satisfaction. And when they are satisfied how a certain point was covered, you will see a physical expression of satisfaction such as a hand slapping the table or, a nod as if to confirm to themselves that this was right.
Did you get in front of the mirror yet?
A liar who smiles or who tries to put up a friendly face has little use of the face. The mouth corners may go up and a good actor can fool you that this smile is real. But, you should not be checking the mouth to see whether the smile is genuine! You check the eyes, the eyebrows, and the skin in between!
A liar’s smile leaves the eyebrows in the same position causing no wrinkle in the skin between them. The eyes keep the same expression and shape.
Now thinks of something funny that happened to you!
The truth-teller’s smile involves the entire face. The corners of the mouth go up and the forehead’s muscles push down. The nose may wrinkle a little. The eyes change shape and get slightly squished, may get a twinkle, and cause crow feet. The cheeks go up with a slight movement in the jaw bones.
Now look in the mirror. See the difference?