Are you a human lie detector?

A young woman holds up an undergarment in front of a young man sitting on a sofa.
How often do we really lie?

There are many theories that explore how effectively we can detect lying. Many deception theories point out “cues” we can look for in body language or delivery. Does he shake his head a lot? Does she avoid eye contact? Are they blinking too much? Or not enough? A factor that plays an important role in successfully escaping detection is just how badly you want to be believed.

High versus low stakes lies.

Dating couples lie to each other on average more than 30% of the time. It looks like lying is an intrinsic part of communication, especially between potential or new erotic partners. But those lies are usually pretty harmless. By contrast, married couples may only tend to lie in approximately 10% of their verbal communication. The alarming part is that the magnitude of the lies told by long term committed intimate partners is greater than that of newer relationships. Cheating is a high stakes topic.

Are you an altruistic liar?

It is ingrained in “polite society” that bending the truth is not only allowed, but often essential, for protecting people from unnecessarily hurtful comments. Both males and females lie with equal frequency. Females however are more likely to lie out of consideration for the feelings of others. Males on the other hand are more apt to lie to embellish their assets or to protect their interests. So, everyone lies, but no one wants to be involved with a liar, right?

How can I detect lying?

The number one factor is your powers of observation. To pick up on the nuances you need to be interested and paying attention. The confidence level of the observer also plays a role in her/his accuracy in detection. Experience is also a key. That is not referring to the cliché “It takes one to know one” but rather the variety of life experiences someone has accumulated. To be able to acknowledge emotional authenticity also involves intuitive processing. What does your “gut” tell you?

Don’t let your enthusiasm get the best of you.

One important thing to remember is to temper any enthusiasm. There is this phenomenon called the halo effect. If a first impression is positive, especially if you find the other attractive right from the start beware! Your imagination may gallop away with your reason and start filling in the blanks before you have the intel. To avoid setting yourself up for heartbreak it is important to keep your feet on the ground and your head on your shoulders.

Sincerity makes liars uncomfortable.

Well, at least it does most of the time. One of the best ways to find what you want is to be honest about it. Even if you are not yet sure what that is, being honest about not having a type takes the pressure off the people you meet. Be interested and ask questions but be sure to pay attention to the answers. That information may be valuable later for cross referencing.

Learn by detecting your own lies.

It can be fascinating and perhaps a little unsettling to observe yourself. Begin to consciously monitor your own use of lies you may be astounded at just how naturally it occurs in everyday interaction. Notice the differences in how you feel when you use different lies, not just emotionally but in your body. Train yourself to become more observant. It is a great skill to have no matter how you intend to put it to use. Talk with others close to you about how they use lies in day to day life. Start observing couples having conversations and pay attention to their use of gestures, their posture, whether they make eye contact.

You will find you can pick up a lot more about covert intentions when you just start paying attention.

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