The new way to spot a LIAR: These telltale signs in what people say will give away whether they’re telling the truth or not, researchers say
- Storytelling details would be a key to separating lies from truth
- Experts also suggest that focusing on one “good cue” will help you identify lies
Whether it’s ‘the dog ate my homework’ or ‘I’m working late’, discovering lies in our daily lives has never been easier.
But researchers now have some of the telltale signs of cheating, with narrative approaches top their list.
Despite the common belief that liars usually avert their gaze while telling a lie, experts argue that this is not always the case.
Instead, their rule of thumb is to keep a close eye on how much detail someone is sharing as they tell a story.
Bruno Verschuere, associate professor of Forensic Psychology at the University of Amsterdam, who participated in the study: ‘It feels very counterintuitive to just listen to what people say and ignore all kinds of other signals, such as how persuasive or emotional someone’s story.
The details given on storytelling would be key in separating lies from truth (file photo)
HOW TO CATCH A LIAR
- Focus on the details given when someone tells a story. Can they provide a rich description? Do they seem emotional?
- Stick to one good cue. Researchers found that participants could spot lies more easily by examining one attribute rather than a handful.
- Don’t always stick to eye contact signals. Details would be an easy indicator of honesty.
“But people who speak the truth can give a rich description because they actually experienced the event, while liars can provide details, but this increases their chance of being caught.”
Experts from Maastricht University, Tilburg University and the University of Amsterdam conducted nine separate tests on more than 1,000 people to examine their ability to lie.
This included showing participants videos, statements, transcripts, and live accounts of a scenario being narrated.
In the first test, 39 participants were confronted with statements – both true and made up – describing students’ recent activities.
This included accounts of walking around the campus, going to the lockers, and a description of their thought process.
The participants were then required to rate each statement on a scale from ‘totally deceptive’ (-100) to ‘totally true’ (+100), examining the details of each given account.
In all experiments, participants were instructed to look for all possible clues of deception or to focus on specific behaviors being displayed.
Experts also suggest that focusing on one “good cue” will help you spot lies more easily
Experts concluded that relying on just one good clue to detect lies was much more reliable than trying to pick up a handful of clues.
These could be location factors, the person’s behavior or even the time of the event.
Despite this, the study concluded that detecting deception was “incredibly difficult,” as participants had an overall accuracy rate of 59-79 percent.
“People aren’t necessarily bad lie detectors. When judging rich statements about a past event, detail provides an easily judged indicator of truth,” they wrote in their study, published in Nature human behavior.
The research follows several other attempts to separate truth from lies.
Some have suggested that your approach should vary depending on who you speak to, with colleagues and family members exhibiting different behavior.
Other experts have instead pointed to facial expression as a clear signal of honesty, with fake smiles appearing only “in the mouth” and not shown with the eyes.
“It’s about observing very closely,” said Pamela Meyer, author of the book “Groin Spotting,” previously. “It’s really not a parlor trick.”