7:22am, St Paul
From a question on Quora.com:
What is a “tell” that someone is lying?
It’s hard to know if someone is lying. It’s a super power we all wish we had… but we can’t read minds.
You may have been told to watch someone’s eyes — if she looks to the right, we’re told, she’s accessing parts of her brain to be creative. Straight right is auditory creativity, up and right is visual creativity.
And eye movement can hint at mental activity…
but it doesn’t mean someone is lying.
People who study body language rarely work in “truth” and “lies.”
Instead we look for tells of “comfort” and “discomfort.”
When people’s emotions don’t match his words or actions, the brain releases chemicals that cause discomfort.
Here are a few tells for discomfort:
- Not looking you in the eyes? Discomfort.
- Crossing her arms in front of them?
- Locking his legs to the chair?
- Itching her arms or legs?
- Bouncing his legs under a table?
- Hiding her hands under a table or in a pocket?
- Touching his face while talking?
- Hiding behind a chair?
- Fidgeting with papers and pencils on the table?
Discomfort, all of them, and a subconscious attempt to make one’s self comfortable again.
It’s important to compare this behavior against a baseline of normal behavior. It’s possible that he frequently crosses his arms, or that she usually avoids eye contact.
Normal behavior isn’t necessarily discomfort. A single itched arm isn’t necessarily discomfort.
Multiple tells of discomfort can be a sign that someone is hiding the truth… or is telling a lie… but they’re only signs, not a guarantee.
And remember: if someone believes what they’re saying, it’s not a lie.