How Can You Tell if a Person is Lying. Signs, Gestures, Facial Expressions

How Can You Tell if a Person is Lying. Signs, Gestures, Facial Expressions

In this article we will tell you how to determine whether a person is lying or not. Also all the ways and means of lying. All of us have had to deal with lies in our lives. There are often cases when a person feels that he is a liar, but cannot explain in words why he thinks so. It’s all about uncontrolled micromimics, it is she who helps to reveal deception. What about the actors? After all, we know that their actions on stage or in the cinema are fictional, but we still get imbued with the plot and live it for real. Why do we believe their game? And how to understand that a person is lying to you?

The psychology of lies

A liar always realizes that he is getting involved in a risky endeavor. Subconsciously, we perceive lying as a crime. And although there is no criminal or administrative liability for everyday lies, the liar is haunted by the fear of exposure. Even if a person deeply does not care about your opinion about him and your attitude towards him, he will in any case subconsciously do two things:

  1. Try to block the transmission of false information. This can be clearly seen in children’s gestures: a child who lies tries to cover his mouth with his hands.
  2. Communicate fear of exposure to the liar. A person begins to assess the consequences of exposure when it is inevitable or has already happened. Until the lie is revealed, even complete impunity in the long term will not relieve a person of the fear of being exposed in a lie.

The liar will try to hide his excitement under the guise of fake emotions. But the problem is that the excitement has quite physiological forms in the form of a rapid pulse, increased sweating, dry mouth – all this is difficult to hide. Another problem is that others notice that emotions are fake. The liar can be betrayed by:

  • eyes
  • facial expressions
  • voice
  • speech
  • gestures 

Let’s take a closer look at each point.


How Can You Tell if a Person is Lying. Signs, Gestures, Facial Expressions

With the help of facial expressions, and first of all, the gaze, feedback is achieved during communication. Your gestures and words can look very convincing, but if at the same time the gaze expresses a different emotion, the interlocutor will intuitively recognize the lie.

The eyes are known to lie in the first place. It is possible to understand by the eyes that a person is lying by a number of signs. 

  • Pupil size. The pupil changes size not only under the influence of light, it also reacts to the attitude towards the words of the interlocutor, more specifically, to agreement and disagreement. If a person agrees with you, his pupils will be wider; if he disagrees, it will be narrower. So, in a nodding person with narrow pupils, it is not difficult to recognize a deceiver. 
  • Visual contact. The liar either avoids eye contact or, conversely, looks in your face more often than the situation requires. In addition, when a person tries to make “honest eyes”, he blinks less often from tension. 
  • Running glance. This is the most famous sign of a lie. We might add that we instinctively distrust a person with shifty eyes, even if this is his usual manner. 
  • Reaction to the question. The person who truly remembers something always looks away, down or up, even if it only lasts for a second. The fact is that a lie always requires additional memory efforts: for example, you need to remember to the smallest detail two versions of events – the genuine and the fictional. The person who listened to the question and answered it, without ceasing to look you in the eye, seemed to remember nothing. Maybe because there was nothing to remember. 

The simplest exercises are the usual antics or alternation of strong tension of the muscles of the face, followed by complete relaxation. There are also exercises for the isolated use of a separate group of facial muscles. Logorhythmic acting exercises help to develop sign language, as well as mimic expressiveness of the face.

Voice and speech

How Can You Tell if a Person is Lying. Signs, Gestures, Facial Expressions

The liar is often betrayed by voice and speech. A person speaking a lie tries to speak the words faster so as not to betray himself. It is easier to rehearse a lie in the form of a monologue, a legend, but it is almost impossible to prepare for a dialogue: after all, we do not know what questions the interlocutor may ask.

It is the questions that usually confuse liars: they make them hesitate, mumble, get confused in testimony and say too much. Therefore, when interrogating experienced police officers, it is alarming when two or more suspects tell the same story almost word for word, rehearsed to the smallest detail.

Anyone who has had to be interrogated as an interrogator will remember the feeling of a dry throat for a long time. It arises from intense excitement and pretty much interferes with speaking.

The liar is trying with all his might not to betray himself. Excessive efforts are striking, for example – an obsessive desire to emphasize the truthfulness of their words, even if no one questions this truthfulness. He uses typical speech patterns: “I swear”, “I swear”, “I give a grudge”, “so that I fail in this place.” At the same time, the voice of a liar betrays his excitement and efforts to look honest. The voice becomes louder, the tone is slightly higher than usual. Often the liar himself notices that his words sounded fake, and begins to worry even more: he stumbles, gets confused, stutters, says unnecessary words, which further aggravates his predicament.

Controlling speech is as difficult as controlling your own emotions. The information above alone is not enough to learn how to speak persuasively. You need to train constantly.

  • Breathing exercises;
  • Relaxation exercises;
  • Articulation gymnastics;
  • Range exercises, etc.

Voice training exercises make speech clearer, louder, measured, in other words, convincing.

Sign language and posture

People who are far from the world of theatrical art are unable to control the non-verbal language of communication, consciously use it. Nevertheless, gestures contain certain information that we exchange with the interlocutor. We can say that the dialogue always goes on two levels – the level of speech and the level of non-verbal signs. There are gestures with which we can recognize a lie. A strange look, a turn of the head, a movement of the hand is enough – and now we no longer trust the interlocutor or are wary of him, not even understanding the reason for such a reaction.

Drama courses teach the conscious management of non-verbal cues and microreactions. An actor who has mastered such skills is able, at the level of sensations, to inspire the interlocutor with the desired information, to evoke certain emotions: trust and sympathy, danger and hostility.

But not everything is so simple. Even the best actor is unable to fully control their non-verbal body language. To achieve the desired effect, by an effort of will, he causes a certain emotional state in himself, in which the necessary non-verbal signals appear by themselves. This technique forms the basis of the world-famous Stanislavsky System, which is studied and applied by actors in order to create a stage image.

At the beginning of the article, we mentioned the child’s hand-closing gesture. Of course, adults do not do this, but residual reactions are often observed in them as well. For example, light touches to the lips or nose – our subconscious mind is trying in this way to restrain deceitful speech. A characteristic sign: if a person’s nose really itches, he will scratch it, but if a person makes this gesture while lying, then he touches his face easily and abruptly, unreasonably. This is true for other gestures as well, for example, when the hands are on the face to cover up a yawn, sneeze, or cough. Although, some mask this gesture with a fake cough.

Closed poses

How Can You Tell if a Person is Lying. Signs, Gestures, Facial Expressions

The characteristic signs of lying are some postures that a person may take unconsciously:

  • Crossing arms over the chest;
  • Crossing legs;
  • Position “four” (when the ankle of one leg rests on the knee of the other).

These postures may indicate an attempt to hide something, a reluctance to conduct a conversation, or a person’s dislike or fear.

When you come to the theater, you understand perfectly well that this is not Madame Bovary, but a professional actress. But her talented game makes you unconditionally believe in everything she says, plunge into the plot with your head.

Your task is to get so used to the role, to feel the image of the character and his life, so that the viewer will believe you unconditionally. After such exercises, it becomes much easier to convey your ideas and thoughts to others in everyday life.

The art of reincarnation, play turns out to be useful not only on the stage. Having studied it, it will be easier for you to reach mutual understanding with people – at work, in personal and friendships.

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