5 Ways You Can Spot a Liar

May 7th 2016

Kyle Jaeger

You're being lied to, all the time. Some 60 percent of adults can't hold a 10-minute conversation without lying at least once, a 2002 study found. Fortunately, scientists have devised ways to identify deception — which won't change the fact that you're being lied to, but it could help you spot the lies before it's too late.

Here are five ways to know if someone is lying to you.

1. It's what you don't hear that gives away a liar.

A person who is lying is more likely to pause for extended periods of time as he or she invents a story before your eyes. Liars also tend to distance themselves from the lie, meaning that you'll hear the words "I," "me," and "my" less frequently than you'll hear "he/she" "him/her," and so on, Time reported.

2. Liars clear their throats and swallow frequently.

Lying is hard work. It's also the kind of work that makes people nervous. So it's not a surprise to discover that liars sweat during the process of deception. Of course, you may not be able to determine if a person is sweating more than usual. But you can listen for throat-clearing and swallowing. When a liar's body sweats more, that water is being redirected from other parts of the body, including the throat, resulting in clearing, and swallowing, Psychology Today reported.

3. Listen for how they say "no."

The way a person says "no" can be a dead giveaway about their truthfulness, a 23-year FBI veteran told Inc. If a person says "no" and immediately looks away, closes her eyes, hesitates before she says "no," says no "in a singsong manner," or really holds the "no" for a long time — "Oh, nooooooo, of course not!" — then you might have a liar on your hands.

4. Even experienced liars can be tripped up.

If you really want to nail a liar, have them tell their story backward. It's one of the most effective strategies to root out liars and is known as the "cognitive interview." It's probably best suited for a formal interrogation setting, but if you can incorporate it subtly in a more informal setting, more power to you. UCLA psychologist Ronald Fisher developed the technique, which "increases the cognitive load to push [liars] over the edge," a 2011 study found.

5. Check how often a person is blinking.

If you've ever heard that people who lie won't look you in the eye ... well, so have liars. So don't use that to judge whether or not a person is being truthful. Rather, look for the frequency of a person's blinking. People blink less when they're being asked a question and lying in their response, but they blink at a rapid rate after the lie has been delivered, a 2008 study in the Journal of Non-verbal Behaviour found.

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