8 little-known psychological tricks to catch out a liar, according to psychology

If you’ve ever been in a situation where you suspected someone was lying to you, you know how unnerving it can be. You might feel a mix of confusion, suspicion, and maybe even betrayal.

The science of detecting lies is a complex one, grounded in the intricate world of psychology. No two liars are the same, which makes spotting a falsehood all the more challenging.

However, certain psychological tricks can help you catch out a liar. These aren’t your everyday tips and tricks – they’re little-known techniques rooted in psychological research.

This isn’t about playing mind games; it’s about understanding human behavior better. 

So let’s dive into these 8 little-known psychological tricks to catch out a liar.

1) Observing microexpressions

Microexpressions are those fleeting, almost imperceptible facial expressions that flash across someone’s face for a fraction of a second.

They’re involuntary and often reveal the true emotions that a person might be trying to hide. For example, someone might momentarily grimace before forcing a smile.

In the context of unmasking a liar, these microexpressions can be incredibly telling. They might express surprise, fear, or discomfort when asked certain questions or when recounting specific events.

Keep in mind, though, that deciphering microexpressions isn’t as simple as spotting a frown or a raised eyebrow. It requires careful observation and a fair understanding of human emotions.

Moreover, it’s important not to jump to conclusions based on microexpressions alone. They are just one piece of the puzzle. However, when combined with other signs and evidence, they can provide valuable insight into whether someone is being truthful or not.

So next time you’re in conversation with someone and you suspect they might be lying, pay close attention to their facial expressions. Those fleeting moments might just hold the key to uncovering the truth.

2) Listen more than you speak

It might seem like a good idea to interrogate someone you suspect of lying, firing off question after question. But in reality, this tactic might not be as effective as you think.

People who are lying often rehearse their stories in advance. They prepare answers for questions they anticipate. So, peppering them with questions might only give them a chance to reiterate their rehearsed lies.

Instead, try to listen more than you speak. Keep your questions open-ended and give them the space to talk. You might find that they provide more information than they intend to, potentially revealing inconsistencies or discrepancies in their story.

It’s not always about the quantity of information, but rather the quality of it. A single slip-up or contradiction could be more revealing than a dozen answers.

Go ahead, sit back and listen. You might be surprised at what you can discover when you let others do the talking.

3) Watch for excessive positivity

When people lie, they often try to make their lies more believable by painting a rosy picture. They might use positive language, overly compliment, or be excessively friendly. This can be an attempt to win your trust and divert your suspicion.

Research suggests that liars use more positive words than truth-tellers. They tend to avoid negative words because these could potentially reveal their deception.

So if someone is gushing with positivity while telling a story that may not be all sunshine and roses, take note. Their overwhelming positivity could be an effort to mask a lie.

4) The power of silence

Silence can be uncomfortable. When a conversation falls into silence, people often feel compelled to fill it with words. This is especially true for someone who may be trying to cover up a lie.

In these quiet moments, a liar might feel the pressure to keep talking, to reinforce their story, or to distract from any inconsistencies.

They could start rambling, repeating themselves, or even divulging more information than they initially intended.

But it’s important to remember that accusing someone of lying is a serious thing. It can damage relationships and hurt feelings. So, use this tactic thoughtfully. Try not to let your suspicions cloud your judgment or color your interactions.

Instead of rushing to conclusions, take time to process the information you’ve gathered. Use silence as a tool for reflection as well as detection. It’s not just about catching a lie, but also about understanding why it was told in the first place.

5) Pay attention to too much detail

We’ve all been there – telling a friend about our weekend, sharing a funny incident at work, or describing a movie we’ve just watched.

Generally, we stick to the main points, the highlights, and leave out unnecessary details.

But when someone is lying, they might go into excessive detail. They might describe the color of the curtains in a room, the exact time of an event down to the minute, or the pattern on a person’s shirt. These details aren’t typically necessary for understanding their story.

This is because they believe that by providing more details, their lie becomes more believable. They think that these trivial facts add credibility to their story.

6) Notice changes in speech patterns

Have you ever noticed how your friend’s voice raises a pitch when they’re excited, or how your colleague talks faster when they’re nervous? Speech patterns can reveal a lot about what a person is really feeling.

In my experience, I’ve noticed that when someone is not being sincere, there can be noticeable shifts in their speech. They might start speaking faster, their voice might become higher or lower, or they may begin to stutter or stumble over words.

One time, during a group project at university, one team member was consistently missing deadlines. When asked about it, he would talk faster than usual and his explanations were filled with ‘umms’ and ‘errs’. It became clear that he wasn’t being completely truthful about his reasons for the delays.

So, keep an ear out for changes in speech patterns. It might provide an insight into whether someone is being truthful or attempting to deceive.

7) Don’t ignore the obvious

As much as we might wish for a magical formula to uncover deception, it’s important to remember that there are no foolproof methods. The human mind is complex and people lie for a multitude of reasons. Sometimes, even the most subtle signs can be misleading.

If someone has a history of lying or has given you reason to doubt their honesty, don’t turn a blind eye. It’s easy to hope for the best and to believe in the good in people because we care about them.

But trust isn’t about turning a blind eye. It’s about understanding behaviors, recognizing patterns, and making informed decisions based on facts and intuition. So if the signs are staring you in the face, don’t ignore them.

After all, it’s not about being cynical or suspicious of everyone you meet. It’s about being realistic and understanding that not everyone may have your best interests at heart.

8) Trust your instincts

After all the observations, the silence, the listening, and the analysis, there’s one thing that shouldn’t be ignored – your gut feeling.

Our instincts often pick up on subtle cues that our conscious mind may overlook. If something doesn’t feel right, if a story doesn’t add up, or if a person’s behavior seems off, don’t dismiss those feelings.

Your intuition is a powerful tool, honed over years of social interactions and experiences. It might not always be right, but it’s an important part of the process of detecting lies.

So trust your instincts while you’re using these psychological tricks to catch a liar. They might just be your most reliable guide in deciphering truth from lies.

Wrapping up

Navigating the complexities of human interactions can be challenging, with truth and deception often becoming intertwined.

This article has shed light on some lesser-known psychological tricks to aid you in detecting potential dishonesty.

However, remember that these tips are not foolproof and everyone has unique behavior patterns. It’s also crucial to approach this with empathy, understanding that people may lie for various reasons, often rooted in their own struggles or fears.

The goal here isn’t to become a human lie detector but to foster better communication and understanding. After all, a relationship built on trust and honesty is inevitably more rewarding and fulfilling.

Eliza Hartley

Eliza Hartley, a London-based writer, is passionate about helping others discover the power of self-improvement. Her approach combines everyday wisdom with practical strategies, shaped by her own journey overcoming personal challenges. Eliza's articles resonate with those seeking to navigate life's complexities with grace and strength.

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