By Anju Miura
Can you remember how many times you lied in the past week? You may consider yourself an honest person, but all of us lie. Children start lying at a young age as part of early childhood cognitive development.
As you grow up, you learn to lie to protect self-esteem, avoid confrontation, cover up wrongdoings or just to be nice. A University of Massachusetts Amherst study found that 60 percent of people can’t go more than 10 minutes in a conversation without telling a lie.
Your friends, partner or family members may be lying to make you feel better. But sometimes, you just want to know the truth.
Here are a few signs that someone may be lying to you:
Moving their eyes to left
Someone speaking might keep looking to the left when telling a lie. Even if you haven’t taken a neuroscience course, you may know that the right hemisphere of the brain works for imagination and intuition, whereas the left hemisphere stores facts and logic. The eyes work opposite to this. So, when you use your imagination to make up stories, you will move your eyes to the left.
On average, people blink 15–20 times per minute. Someone lying, however, tends to blink less while figuring out how to lie and then blinks eight times faster than normal afterward. Since it’s not easy to come up with believable lies to answer sudden, unexpected questions, the liar slows their physical movement to create extra time to think. After telling a lie, the liar’s unconscious guilt and nervousness induce excessive blinking.
Portraying contradicting behavior
A liar’s behavior might contradict their answer. Try this: saying no while nodding or saying yes while shaking your head. You will find it feels strange, because the human brain is wired up to ensure our verbal and nonverbal behaviors match up. Your friend may be shaking her head, saying, “Yes, I think your new boyfriend is nice.”
Instead of answering your question, a liar may say, “I can’t believe you asked me such question,” or “Do you really believe that I did such an awful thing?” This is because the liar attempts to look mad and confrontational in order to manipulate with fear.
Answering vaguely or rambling
Not giving a simple “yes” or “no,” but giving too much information you didn’t ask for can be a sign of lying. A liar tries to look honest by overloading you with information. However, you will notice the person often keeps talking about something off-topic if you pay close attention.
According to Freud, people are prone to transfer unacceptable thoughts, motives or impulses to others. For example, when your girlfriend becomes unreasonably jealous of your actions, it may be a sign that — consciously or unconsciously — she is trying to deny her guilt of attraction to others.
If you pay close attention when the person you are talking to shows a few of these behaviors, you’ll soon be a walking lie detector.