Lauren Smith | Contributing Writer | Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Here\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s How You Can Tell If Someone Is Lying

Here's How You Can Tell If Someone Is Lying

The Debrief: Liar liar pants on fire

Even though I’m terrible at lying myself, there are a few signs I thought everyone knew (or everyone who has watched copius amounts of Jeremy Kyle when he wheels out the lie detector test) that signals you were telling a porkie pie. The red flushed face, avoiding eye contact, sweating slightly, fiddling with your hands... These all seemed to me to be signs you might be lying – but a new study has just gone and rubbished all of that. 

Researchers from the University of Michigan studied 119 video clips of people to work out the gestures and language used by those who were being dishonest. And they found that those who made loads of eye contact, used hand gestures and nodded their heads frequently were more likely to be liars. Which goes against everything we’ve been told over the years. 

Half the clips used in the study were from the Innocence Project, an organisation that looks after legal cases of falsely imprisoned innocent people, and the other batch of clips were from interviewees being asked about films – some of which didn’t exist.

Researchers then compiled all the data into machine-led software to work out who was lying. The computer was 75% accurate at predicting who wasn’t telling the truth. Sounds better than Jezza Kyle’s lie detector test. 

The ‘liars’ were also more likely to say ‘um’ and use pronouns that removed them from the story, so using ‘he’ or ‘she’ not ‘I’. So watch out for those when you’re suspicious about what someone’s telling you.

Liked this? You might also be interested in: 

How Our Selfies Are Lying To Us

How To Pretend To Be Sick For Work

Why You Shouldn’t Lie On Your CV

Follow Lauren on Twitter @laurenjsmith