Deception: Why We Tell Lies & How To Spot A Liar

how to spot a liar

Bhoomika Ghaghada Relationships ,,,,

“I’m fine”

“This pasta is delicious”

“Won’t be able to make it –stuck at work”

We all fib and we do it incredibly often. According to a study in the Journal of Basic and Applied Psychology, a majority of us can’t even go ten minutes without lying. “60 percent of the subjects lied at least once during a videotaped 10-minute conversation”, reports the study.

To put that in context, if you’re having a conversation with someone for an hour, on average, you’ll be told 6 lies.

A poll in Britain gives us an average number of 10 lies per week for an individual. For a species that has hailed the phrase ‘Honesty is the best policy’, that’s quite big. We’ll delve into how to spot a liar [patience], but firstly, what makes us lie?

Why do we color the truth?

So, what motivates your brain to produce the white lies that roll off your tongue oh-so-naturally?

1.Self Preservation: This one is fairly obvious. You don’t want to spend the next 20 minutes explaining to your other half why you said they look ‘okay’ tonight. Evolutionarily speaking, lying is beneficial for cooperation, which is positively linked with survival.

It’s built into our systems and it’s even seen in animals. Humans are not alone in this; spiders, dolphins and bees bluff to attract mates and obtain cooperation among their species [much like the lies you told on your last date].

2. Self Esteem: Another reason, based on research, is maintaining self-esteem – puffing up the positives and dialing down the negatives. There’s a level of self-deception involved too.

And of course, there are the outward social benefits – managing your reputation and social acceptance [You don’t want people to think badly of you] can drive us to lie.

An article on livescience, explains the social motivations well,

“We want to be agreeable, to make the social situation smoother or easier, and to avoid insulting others through disagreement or discord.”

That’s why, in our daily lives, we’re even willing to lie to strangers about what music we like and what brands we adore. To keep it all hunky-dory.

Lies Spill Out When..

A study by the Association of Psychological Science determined that we are more likely to lie when we are under a time constraint to answer. When people have plenty of time, and it’s not a pressing concern, people lie when they have a good justification for it.

We are more likely to lie when we’re under a time constraint.

When demanding the truth for your loved one, colleague or employee, relax and give them time. You’ll be more likely to get the real version.

When do we begin fabricating?

It begins quite early – Humans first begin lying around the age of 4 years [that is, constructing believable lies, not ‘the pigeon ate the cookie’].

Are you being lied to?

Seeing that we practice deceiving regularly and rigorously, we should be categorically adept at knowing when we’re being lied to, right? Turns out, when we’re on the receiving end of a falsehood, we’re not so good at knowing it [but we think we do]. Many studies have shown that people overestimate their ability to distinguish their ability to spot a liar.

When we’re on the receiving end of a falsehood, we’re not so good at knowing it

So, what are great indicators that your boyfriend/father/son hated that pot pie they claimed was delicious? How can you tell if someone is lying when they’re paying you a compliment [Oh, I love your shoes]?

How can you detect when someone’s lying?

There’s a fair bit of research, as reported by BBC, that suggests we should trust our instincts when it comes to judging someone’s answer to be a truth or a lie. Our gut instincts are usually right on, but our thinking, conscious minds come in the way with other propositions.

Instead of relying on observation of the person’s behavior for cues like a nervous appearance, avoiding eye contact or shallow stories, we should trust our instincts. Why? Because all of the above commonly quoted factors are not, in fact, indicators at all.

Liars don’t always look shaky, sometimes they stay really still. They make more eye contact then usual to convince you and spin detailed stories in the hopes you’d be more inclined to believe them.

However, let’s leave you with a pretty entertaining language analysis video:

In the meantime, go and tell your loved ones a lie; they look flawless, their cooking and work is impeccable and there is nothing the matter with your face [as you giggle to death inside]. Let us know if they were able to tell.

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