Here is an interesting article that I found on Google pages, long ago... unfortunately, I do not know the name of the author.
This text is aimed at advanced and upper intermediate students. If you're in doubt about the meaning of a word, it's a great chance to look it up in a dictionary and learn it.
Read and learn more about liars and their lies. And of course, have a great time learning English!
5 Ways to Spot a Liar 👨
A friend says a gift is in the mail when it isn't. A neighbour swears she loves your new fence when she can't stand the sight of it. A salesclerck claims his store is offering big savings on everything in stock, when only a few selected items, as it turns out, are marked down.
Little white lies ( of all sorts) are tossed our way daily, and getting to the truth of the matter can be frustrating, time-consuming, even upsetting.
Lies occur between friends, between teachers and students, doctors and patients, husbands and their wives, witnesses and jury, lawyers and clients, salespeople and customers,” says Paul Ekman, professor emeritus of psychology at the University of California, San Francisco. Ekman has been studying deceptive behaviour for more than four decades and is the author of several books on the subject. “Lying is such a central characteristic of life”, he says, “that understanding it better is relevant to almost all human affairs.”
Try these compelling tips from the experts on how to spot a liar:
Hear the Voices - Ever notice the pitch of someone's voice change from its norm? Hearing a voice crack when it isn't the cracking type? Pay attention to voice changes like these. They may well indicate deceit.
When Paul Ekman teamed with Maureen O'Sullivan, professor of psychology at The University of San Francisco, to test 509 people for their ability to spot liars, the results were telling. The group included Secret Service, CIA, and FBI personnel, as well as psychiatrists and college students. They were shown a videotape of ten individuals who were either lying or telling the truth.
On the tape, one woman described the lovely flowers she was supposedly looking at. Though she was smiling as she spoke, a few keen observers detected an odd hesitation in her voice. Her words lacked joy, and her hands seemed tense, not relaxed. One of the Secret Service agents labeled her a liar, and he was right. She wasn't looking at flowers at all, but at a graphic film the evaluators were showing. (The Secret Service employees, by the way, nailed the liars 86 per cent of the time, better than others in the group.)
Though other important behaviours need to be considered as well, vocal changes that deviate from the norm can indicate deception. “There may also be a change in speech rate, either too fast or too slow, and a change in breathing pattern.”
Watch those words – How about written material? Can we spot mislesading behaviour in letters, documents, e-mails and even résumés? At the University of Texas at Austin, psychology professor James Pennebaker and colleagues have developed computer software known as Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count ( LIWC ), which analyzes written and verbal content for lies. Deception can reveal itself in two significant ways, explains Pennebaker.
First, liars tend to use fewer first-personal pronouns – words like I, me, mine – than truth tellers. It's as if they are putting psychological distance between themselves and their stories; they don't “own” their message. “The paperwork was sent yesterday” is an example, opposed to the direct and personal “I sent it yesterday.” Second, liars use fewer exclusionary words – but, nor, except, whereas. They have trouble with complex thinking, says Pennebaker, and it shows.
Look Past Shifty Eyes – While most people tend to interpret darting, unfocused eyes as a classic sign of lying, what's vital to consider is the context of the behaviour. (Experienced poker players, of course, are careful not to make too much of eye “tells.”)
“If people look away while trying to think of something difficult, that is not important,” says O'Sullivan. “But if they look away while answering something that should be easy to answer, you should wonder why.”
And what is the conversation about, anyway? The subject matter is critical. “If people are lying about something they're ashamed of, they'll have difficulty maintaining the eye gaze,” notes O'Sullivan. “For white lies, though, or lies that aren't shameful, people may actually increase their eye gaze.”
Get Better at Body Language – No single part of the face or body, such as the eyes, or hands, can tell us the whole story when it comes to lying. It's not that simple. “There is no Pinocchio's
nose ,” says Ekman flatly. Instead, “you must consider the fit among face, body, voice and speech to reach high levels of accuracy.”
That means observing the “total person” whenever possible. “Clues must always be interpreted in light of the usual behavious”, explains O'Sullivan. “Changes in small hand movements, changes in the amount of hand gestures, shrugs that are inconsistent with what's being said” - these are worth homing in on, she suggests.
So are changes in body posture at particular points in a conversation.
Watch for “a change in the baseline,” says O'Sullivan. For instance, A quiet person who talks a lot , or a person who talks a lot and is now quiet. It doesn't necessarily means that someone's lying, but it's a hot spot to evaluate.”
Check for Emotional Leaks – The micro expressions that flit across people's faces often expose what they are truly thinking or feeling, as opposed to what they would like us to believe, explains Ekman. But these ultra-brief facial movements, some lasting a quarter of a second, aren't a cinch to spot. Even professionals trained in the art of lie detection – police personnel, judges, attorneys – can't always isolate them. And deliberate liars tend to layer on other expressions, like smiling, to further disguise a lie.
Still, there are giveaways. “It isn't the frequency of a smile that matters, but the type of smile,” says Ekman. “There are smiles of true enjoyment, which involve not just the lips but the muscles that orbit the eyes. And there are masking smiles, which are made to cover fear, anger, sadness or disgust. If you're a good observer, you can see a trace of one of those emotions leak through.”
So here's hoping the next time someone lobs a lie our way, we'll know just how to catch it.