3 MIN READ | General

David Tobin

8 Signs Someone is Lying to You According to Psychologists

Cite This
David Tobin, (2022, April 1). 8 Signs Someone is Lying to You According to Psychologists. Psychreg on General. https://www.psychreg.org/signs-someone-lying-according-psychologist/
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The concept of lying has been studied for decades. The question of why we do it can be fairly obvious at times, whether it be to hide some wrong we have done or to spare someone’s feelings by not telling them the truth. 

However, what is more difficult is figuring out if we are being lied to. A bluff in movies about poker is much easier to spot, for instance. However, there are some signs to look for when you think someone is lying to you. 

Hands

The first thing to note is what is the person doing with their hands? If someone is telling the truth, their hands and arms are feeling relaxed, the shoulders are dropped, and there is no fidgeting, picking at the nails, or something similar. 

The hands should be the first place to look for signs as many people have nervous tics involving their hands. These tics are normally subconscious, and people will do them no matter how calm the rest of their body is. 

Eyes 

The eyes are famously another part of our bodies that give lies away. Many studies have shown that those who are lying tend to look away at crucial parts of the conversation where they are lying. They will keep eye contact until they speak about or someone asks about a particular person or event. 

Oddly, another sign of lying is intensely staring. Once again, researchers found that some who are lying tend not to break eye contact at all. While this is opposite to the above point, it is a sign of trying too hard to be truthful, to the point of overcompensating. 

Mouth 

Regarding the mouth, studies have found that those who are lying tend to pull their lips into their mouth, almost making the lips disappear. This is an unconscious action that experts believe liars do as a way to stop themselves from talking. 

It is also a relatively unnatural and rare thing to do when talking normally. You can probably go a few days or even weeks having conversations without doing it. 

Complexion 

Blushing and sweating are two very well-known signs of lying. Going as pale as a ghost if someone questions the thing you have lied about is another tell-tale sign. Going red is a sign of a rush of blood while losing color on your face is a sign of being scared. 

As mentioned, excessive sweating could suggest something is going on as, like most things on this list, it isn’t natural to start sweating more than usual during a conversation. 

Tone of voice 

Another thing that hints at someone telling a lie is the tone of their voice. Most people have experienced having a high-pitched voice when nervous or scared. When we are nervous, our vocal cords tighten up, producing a high-pitched tone too. 

A volume change is another common one. People can get very quiet, almost hoping if they speak softly no one will hear them. People caught in a lie could also get very loud in an attempt to dominate the conversation and get the other person to be quiet. 

Story details 

There are two ways to test if a story is accurate, and both are methods used by law enforcement officers during interrogations. The first is to ask questions about a story detail a little while after the person has said it. If they tell the truth, quickly giving the same detail will be easy. 

The second method is asking the person to repeat their story backward. People caught in a lie tend to make up excessive details as they go, making them tell the story again backward will tell you immediately what was made up and what was true as they’ll remember the actual facts easily. 

Question avoidance 

When asking questions, a liar will tend to avoid ones that require them to make up details. If you ask a what, when, and where question, they answer the one that will have a more believable answer and ignore the rest. 

If the person is telling the truth, there is no reason to avoid answering simple questions like ‘why were you there’, ‘who were you with’, etc. 

Time 

Finally, the last sign is how long they take to answer questions. Are their answers filled with time-wasters like ‘um’ or ‘uhh’? Or are they answering the questions quickly and getting to the point in as few words as possible? 

Once again, a true story is easy to remember and tell; a fabricated one needs extra time as the person telling it has to invent details. In the words of the great Judge Judy, ‘If you tell the truth, then you don’t have to have a good memory.’


David Tobin did his degree in psychology at the University of Hertfordshire. He is interested in mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.


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