We distort the truth to preserve peace
Often by “lying” we mean that someone intends to deceive us with words or deeds. However, in fact, it is possible to have a normal conversation precisely because we do not say exactly what we really mean.
Imagine if every time the person you were talking to said what he really thought about you and your life decisions? That would be unbearable. For example, even if we don’t like someone’s new and too expensive hairstyle, most of us would never say that. We are aware that being 100 percent honest could do more harm than good, so this type of cooperation is at the core of many social interactions.
So, yes, deception is the tissue that keeps us together, lubricates the points of cooperation, and makes the world a harmonious place.
A third of us lie every day
“Somewhere around a third of the population tells a big lie every day,” says psychologist Richard Wiseman. And yet, a recent study showed that five percent of the population claims that they have never lied in their lives. It seems that many of us do not know how to tell the truth, even in an anonymous poll…
To find out if someone is lying, you have to listen, not watch
The reason why we are not so good at recognizing lies is because people are primarily visual creatures.
Large parts of our brain are dedicated to visual data processing, which is why we tend to rely on these signs when trying to find out if someone is lying. Is he fidgeting in his chair? What does he do with his hands? What are his facial expressions?
However, most of these things can be controlled quite easily – good liars know what the other person is looking for in order to try to discover the lie. Signals beyond that are purely verbal – what we say and how we do it.
It’s much harder for liars to control – so if you focus on it and know what patterns to look for, you’ll become a much better lie detector.
Liers, in general, speak less, they need more time to answer after being asked a question, and they try to distance themselves emotionally in a lie – so they omit words like “I”, “mine” and “me”.