How many people have you spoken with today? Chances are that most of them lied to you—and that they did it more than once. It’s a hard fact to accept, but even your closest friends and coworkers lie to you regularly.
University of Massachusetts psychologist Robert Feldman has studied lying for more than a decade, and his research has reached some startling conclusions. Most shocking is that 60% of people lie during a typical 10-minute conversation and that they average two to three lies during that short timeframe.
Most of the people in Feldman’s studies don’t even realize all of the lies they have told until after the conversation when it was played back to them on video.
People lie in everyday conversation to appear more likeable and competent. While men and women lie equally as often, they tend to lie for different reasons. “Women were more likely to lie to make the person they were talking to feel good, while men lied most often to make themselves look better,” Feldman said.
“A man is never more truthful than when he acknowledges himself a liar.” – Mark Twain
New research by Dr. Leanne ten Brinke at the Haas School of Business suggests that, while most of us have pretty good instincts when it comes to recognizing liars, we tend to talk ourselves out of believing (or, at least, acting on) what our instincts are telling us.
We hesitate to call liars out in professional environments because we feel guilty for being suspicious. Calling someone a liar for no good reason is a frightening proposition for most.
Thankfully, Dr. Brink’s research points to objective, well-documented physiological and behavioral changes—or “tells”—that we can use to make accurate assessments of other people’s truthfulness.
Keep an eye out for the following signs, and you won’t be taken advantage of by a liar.
They cover their mouths. People often cover their mouths when lying. A hand on the mouth or even a touch of the lips shows you that they are lying because this unconscious body language represents a closing off of communication. When lying, people also instinctively cover vulnerable body parts, such as the head, neck, or abdomen, because lying makes them feel exposed, vulnerable, and open to attack. (continue reading)