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11/25/2008: "UK Private Investigator Blog - "How to spot a liar""


I often receive enquiries on how to spot when someone is lying. Although, I’m far from an expert in this field some basics were covered in my private investigation training.

The first thing to watch out for is the intentional withholding of additional information. The liar doesn’t want to spin a web of lies and get caught in them so they try and minimise all information given to you on the subject they want to keep secret. Look out for a conversation filled with short, sharp sentences, no further explanations or ramblings, and the liar will often spout whole paragraphs that contain zero information of any use, junk language basically.

You’ve probably seen on the TV police detectives studying a suspect’s body movements and using that to deduce if they’re lying. Which way their eyes dart can tell if they’re accessing the creative part of the brain or memory, etc. Don’t think YOU can use these methods to deduce lying, you will probably misread them (and so would I). Learning techniques like that takes years of getting tutored off of a master interrogator. What you can do is go with your gut. People in general are very good “body readers” and our facial expressions convey a thousand words, are understood instantly, and are nearly impossible for us to control.

Another form of behaviour you can watch out for is within the conversation itself. Liars often become defensive, whereas innocent people go on the attack. If you’re asking someone if they stole money the liar would become defensive and say things like “I wouldn’t steal” “Hey, it’s not me”, the topic would revolve around them. Innocent persons would go on the offensive and implicate someone else they think did it or question your motivations for suspecting them.

There’s loads of information and techniques to tell if someone’s lying, I wouldn’t say you could use all of them in any given situation correctly or even that all the things in interrogation manuals are accurate.