Liar Liar

Top 20 Body Indicators of a Liar

In most circumstances, you can tell a lie not by what you hear, but what you see. The person’s own physical movements will give him/her away most of the time. The liar does not know they are giving themselves away by subconscious body movements.

If a person really and honestly believes the lie, there is no way that can detect the falsehood. However, unless you are dealing with a pathological liar you can become better at spotting those people in your own life that are trying to deceive you!

Observing just one item of the following list is not in and by its self-proof a person is telling a lie. However, more then two of the following items observed during the course of a conversation is a strong indicator that a person is telling lies. Therefore, knowing what the body movement says is so important. By observing body language, you can interpret it and in due course decide whether or not the person is lying or telling you the truth.

When I was employed as a criminal investigator, I was taught to look for the following:


  • Shoulder shrugging subconsciously is an indication of a lie.


  • The mouth becomes dry and liars lick their lips a lot.


  • Liars subconsciously want to put physical distance between you and them, so they lean their heads back a little.


  • Liars are prone to shuffling their feet, playing with their hair, and fidgeting with their hands.


  • Wiping the hands down their arms or legs is a subconscious way of getting rid of the dirty feeling associated with fibbing.


  • A puckered lip is a sign that someone is holding back information-especially if they make the move after you ask them a sensitive question.


  • Some people just bite their lips out of habit, but doing it right after you ask them a question can be a sign that they’re about to lie.


  • Blowing Out Air (fake sigh) Just like brushing themselves off, blowing out air is a subconscious way to get the icky feeling associated with lying.


  • A fake smile. It’s hard for liars to give a real smile while seeking to deceive.


  • Unusual response time. When the lie is planned (and rehearsed), deceivers start their answers more quickly than truth-tellers. If taken by surprise, however, the liar takes longer to respond


  • When lying, a person’s vocal tone will rise to a higher pitch. Other verbal cues include rambling, selective wording (in which one avoids answering the question exactly as asked), stammering, and the use of qualifiers.


  • One nonverbal signal that is almost impossible to fake is pupil dilation. The larger pupil size that most people experience when telling a lie can be attributed to an increased amount of tension and concentration.


  • A person’s blink rate slows down as she decides to lie and stays low through the lie. Then it increases rapidly (sometimes up to eight times normal rate) after the lie.


  • When lying, people will often display nervousness and anxiety through increased foot movements. Feet will fidget, shuffle and wind around each other or around the furniture. They will stretch and curl to relieve tension, or even kick out in a miniaturized attempt to run away.


  • A person’s nose may not grow when he tells a lie, but watch closely and you’ll notice that when someone is about to lie or make an outrageous statement, he’ll often unconsciously rub his nose.


  • Mouth covering is another common gesture of people who are being untruthful, as is covering the eyes.


  • When a person believes what she is saying her gestures and expressions are in alignment with her words.


  • Often times, in the effort not to let their gestures “give away” the lie, deceivers will hold their bodies unnaturally still. At other times, especially after being asked a searching question, you may notice liars accelerate pacifying gestures.


  • Difficult to catch, but if you ever spot a fleeting expression that contradicts a verbal statement, believe what you see and not what you hear.


  • The quick-check glance. This may follow a less-than-truthful response: Liars will immediately look down and away, then back at you again in a brief glimpse to see if you bought the falsehood.

Guy Lewis: Payson, AZ, August 13, 2012