Monday, 30 April 2007

How To Know If Someone Is Lying To You

The following techniques for telling if someone is lying are often used by police, and security experts. This knowledge is also useful for managers, employers, and for anyone to use in everyday situations where telling the truth from a lie can help prevent you from being a victim of fraud/scams and other deceptions.

Liars depend on our gulliblity. They want us to assume that what they say is truthful by accepting their version of things uncritically. They trade on the fact that most people find it socially uncomfortable to challenge some body elses claims because it generates the implied reaction 'how dare you disbelieve what I tell you'

Liars are skilled at constructing alternative versions of events. They become so skilled that they 'enter into the deception' almost becoming convinced of their own fabrications. In this way they defend themselves by appearing authentic.

Probing questions are the key to unlocking the liar. Inconsistencies can be identified in the 'facts' and chronology. Creating space to listen to what the liar has to say rather than jumping in and challenging things is a good method too. Give them enough rope and they will hang themsleves as they say. The liar relies on cues to determine how effective their lies are. By reacting to each and every one of their statements we provide the liar with key information as to 'how well they are doing' and the extent and gaps in our knowledge. They then use this information to improve the deception.

To some extent we are all liars. Erving Goffman in his book The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life describes and explains how we all portray a 'front' a 'persona'. These personae are taken for granted in everyday social situations. They go unchallenged and because of this we are vulnerable to misrepresentation.

Always question the motive and reason people have for saying what they say. What's in it for them? Why are they reluctant to elborate on the things you ask and really keen to elaborate on the things they want you to believe. Are you being asked to take things on face value, place your faith in what they say or are you freely given facts and information in order that ou can judge for yourself. If the other person wants to control the meaning of things rather than you then chances are something is amiss. If you smell a rat then its probably there!

Liar Liar Links:

How To Tell If Someone Is Lying To You
The Book of Tells .com

How To Spot A Liar
How to Spot a Liar - Google Books sample chapters

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