What is screaming I'm a liar
Exposing a liar is easier than you think
We humans (hopefully) have a lot of positive character traits. However, honesty is not one of them. We actually lie all the time - all day long without a second's hesitation. Regardless of our age, our eating habits or our sexual relationships. We say we're fine even though we're actually devastated. We make sick when we want a three-day weekend. We tell our relationship partners that we love them "forever", but actually only mean "until next summer". Truly despicable behavior.
When you think about how many lies we hear every day - especially from supposed friends and loved ones - then one naturally also wonders how to expose these lies. Fortunately, there are experts who work full-time to untangle our complex web of falsehoods.
We asked these experts for their best debunking tips.
David Alssema is an expert in body language, so I'm very happy that we only talk on the phone. He can tell the truth of a statement by simply analyzing eye contact and gestures. Basically, you could call him a mind reader - and that kind of scares me.
"When it comes to exposing a lie, the way you speak is a great indicator," explains Alssema. "Pause in speech and hesitation in the voice are clear signs. However, if the person speaking is speaking quickly and without interruption, they are very likely to be telling the truth."
Also at VICE: The real 'True Detective'?
Still, eye contact is supposedly the clearest clue. According to Alssema, you can actually train to spot a liar in a matter of minutes. You just have to watch where the person is looking.
This is how Alssema describes it: It is important to know that a person's eyes go to the left or to the right - depending on whether they remember something or suck a lie from their fingers. "If you watch your friends for a while, you can quickly find out when they are looking at which page," says Alssema.
"In time you will realize where they are looking when they remember something or when they lie. If they tell the truth, they speak quickly and the eyes are on the memory side. And if they don't tell the truth, they wander her eyes towards the lying side. "
When liars think they're being caught, they are often touching or scratching their necks.
To find out which side is which, all you have to do is ask the person how their day was, if they were busy, and what they do on the weekend. "The first two questions relate to the past, so the interviewee remembers. The third, however, relates to the future and therefore you cannot know whether the answer is really true or not. It is fabricated," explains Alssema.
"At some point we know about our friends and recognize the pattern in the subconscious. With people we have only recently met, these three questions help immensely."
But there are other, more easily recognizable indicators to look out for. When liars think they're being caught, they are often touching or scratching their necks. "That is a sign of uncertainty," says Alssema.
We don't want to incite anyone here, but these tips not only make you easier to spot liars, you also become a better swindler yourself.
If you avoid the signs just mentioned, you are virtually inscrutable. According to Alssema, you will gain even more confidence if you always show your hands open. "Do not clasp your hands behind your back or put them in your trouser pockets. Look your conversation partner in the eye and avoid overcompensating in any way," he advises.
Former police officer Julia Robson is the head of Online Investigations, a private detective agency that focuses on unfaithful spouses. And while adultery is directly the worst-case scenario, it sadly happens more often than you might think. So we asked Robson about any warning signs.
When talking to her, it quickly becomes clear that it is actually pretty easy to expose a lying spouse. Our gut feeling alerts us directly if something is wrong in the relationship. Unfortunately, we just never want to listen to this gut feeling.
"You don't just go to a private investigator like that," says Robson. "People are actually very sure that their partners are cheating on them. But neither they nor said partners want to admit to themselves that there is actually something in the bush." According to the private detective, both parties do not want to admit anything even when confronted with photo and video evidence.
When you're in love, you instinctively trust your partner. You believe in the best in him or her because you have no other choice. And even if your social circle is not so blind to the missteps, they won't tell you anything - because they don't see it as their job.
"I once had a client who noticed at work events that her colleagues always behaved strangely when she had her husband with her. As it turned out later, of course everyone knew that he was having an affair with another employee," tells Robson.
The bottom line is that people who are in the happy stage of an affair behave very predictably. According to Robson, all known clichés really apply.
"They buy new clothes, they go to the gym, they lose weight, they pay more attention to their appearance and they always present themselves at their best," she says. "Sometimes that means that you have already made a new acquaintance and now want to look good. Or maybe you just started looking for it."
If someone looks unfaithful, that is likely to be the case. People just suck.
If your partner is acting weird, listen to your gut instinct. According to Robson, only one in fifty cases ends with a happy ending. But honestly, I think she's just making this statistic up to make me feel better.
"Very rarely does it happen that only a surprise was planned for the spouse and therefore all the secrecy was necessary," she says. "Usually, however, we confirm the suspicion of cheating."
According to Robson, there is also a final test: confront your partner with your suspicions and wait for the reaction. If he or she gets angry and aggressive, then that is a sign that he or she has something to hide - that is, very likely cheating.
"We always ask our clients what happens after the confrontation. Does the partner behave differently afterwards? Does he suddenly spend more time at home again and neglect the training? These are all signs of a guilty conscience. And guilt. Traces should be blurred and the suspicion be dispelled. "
The bottom line is that if someone makes an unfaithful impression, then that is probably also the case. People just suck.
After becoming a polygraph expert with the FBI, the Los Angeles Police Department, and the US Secret Service, one thing became clear to ex-homicide investigator Steve van Aperen: You don't need a machine to expose a swindler. "One day I thought that it would be very useful to be able to detect lies without using a lie detector," he explains. Having been involved in investigations into over 77 murders and two serial killers, van Aperen is now teaching police officers around the world how to expose a liar without the aid of a machine.
"Research shows that people generally aren't very good at spotting a lie: they're only right 49 to 53 percent of the time," he says. "This is because we are influenced by our social environment and we often do not want to believe that someone is lying to us - especially not when the liars are people close to us."
But you really lie and you can get away with it easily. Van Aperen knows this firsthand through his work with lie detectors. "People don't trick the polygraph test," he explains. "Basically, this is just a device that measures automatic body reactions such as pulse, blood pressure or perspiration. No, people instead trick the investigator who does not recognize what is happening or who formulates the questions incorrectly. "
In order to become human lie detectors, we need to pay attention to the wording. "The questions must be asked clearly and precisely so that the liar has no leeway," explains van Aperen. For example, if you asked Bill Clinton whether he had a sexual relationship with Monica Lewinsky, he could theoretically say no and the polygraph would not work. Why? Because the word "relationship" is difficult to define and Clinton can therefore be convinced that his liaison with the intern was not a relationship. However, if you asked the former US president more specific questions about what was going on in the Oval Office, he couldn't easily wriggle out.
Then it is still a matter of carefully analyzing the words and body language of the person concerned. Is it communicating in a believable way? Or does she keep inserting pauses or filling sounds like "Um"? Polygraph experts also pay close attention to the speech rhythm of the people interviewed.
"Honest people tell not only about what happened, but also what they thought and felt. Liars behave differently."
Van Aperen also reports on parents of kidnapped children in this context. If they have nothing to do with the kidnapping, then they talk personally about the child ("my daughter" instead of "the girl") and also behave as if the child is still alive and not in danger or already dead. "You speak in the present tense and have expectations or hope," says the polygraph expert.
"Honest people tell not only about the events, but also about what they thought and felt. Liars behave differently: They reel down their story and distance themselves emotionally from it."
If you suspect someone is lying to you, just follow up. Ask the person a series of questions because each time they answer, they have to come up with a new lie that doesn't contradict the previous statements. This is difficult and the stress that it creates will quickly make itself felt. "A lot of cognitive processes take place there," says van Aperen. "I don't care how well someone has put together their lies. It's impossible to anticipate all the questions I might ask. That's just how it works in the game of false facts, exaggeration and memories that are not the truth correspond."
Humans are by nature lie detectors. If you just listen to your gut instincts, you'll quickly expose the people you shouldn't believe. Sometimes, however, you deliberately ignore this gut feeling - especially when friends or relationship partners are involved. Here you have to rely on good observation, body language and speech analysis. Always stay vigilant because sometimes even the smallest gesture can make a big difference.
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