Lying

By: Sophia Orlandella

Who lies?

Anyone under enough pressure, or given enough incentive, will lie. Also people will lie when they are afraid of what would happen if they told the truth, even if it's for no reason.

Detecting Lies through the Polygraph

Few experts display much confidence in the abilities of the deception-detecting abilities of the Polygraph. The problem is that it detects fear, not lying. It measures heart rate, skin conductivity, and respiration which don't necessarily accompany dishonesty. Thus a criminal's lie can easily go undetected if he has no fear of telling it.

Body Language of lies

A liar may touch their face, throat and mouth more than normal. Also they may touch or scratch behind their ear, however are not likely to touch his/her chest or heart with an open hand.

Emotional Gestures and Contradiction

A guilty person gets defensive while an innocent person will often go on the offensive. Also, a liar might unconsciously place objects between themselves and you.

So how can you detect a lie?

The secret: tracking speech hesitations or changes in vocal pitch, for example, or by identifying various nervous adaptive habits like scratching, blinking, or fidgeting.

Note: lie detection is still destined to be imperfect

Verbal context and content

A liar will use your words to answer a question. For example, when asked, "Did you eat the last cookie?" The liar answers, "No, I did not eat the last cookie." A statement with a contraction is more likely to be truthful: "I didn't do it" instead of "I did not do it".

More verbal context and content

Liars may speak more than natural because they are not comfortable with pauses. A liar may also muddle their words instead of emphasizing a pronoun.

Other signs of a lie

If you believe someone is lying, then change the subject of a conversation quickly. A liar will follow along willingly and will become more relaxed. The guilty wants the subject changed; an innocent person may be confused by the sudden change in topics and will want to go back to the previous subject.

The psychology of lying part 1

What happens in your brain when you tell a lie?

The frontal lobe is activated: this is involved in suppressing or inhibiting the truth

The Limbic system is activated: this is involved in the increased anxiety from the deception

What happens in your brain when you tell the truth?

An alternate cognitive process occurs: fewer brain areas are active in the frontal and limbic system

The temporal lobe is activated: This is associated with memory encoding and retrieval.

The phycology of lying part 2

Who is lying?

Both men and women lie equally

College students lie to their mothers in one out of two conversations

A fifth of social exchanges lasting 10 or more minutes involve at least 1 lie

65% of people think we have become less honest in the last decade

79% of people think most regard personal gain over integrity and honesty

Final notes

Most lie detecting experts agree that a combination of body language and other cues must be used to make an educated guess on whether someone is telling the truth or a lie. Don't assume someone is lying just because they do one of the previous things.


"He who permits himself to tell a lie once, finds it easier to do it a second time" -Thomas Jefferson