Body Language 102: Try Lying!

Barbara Vey -- May 26th, 2009


Body Language 102:  Sorting the Truth and Lies

Today, BHB gives a very warm welcome to an old friend who’s quizzes keep us on our toes and our brains sharp.

Margie Lawson
—psychotherapist, writer, and international presenter – analyzed hundreds of hours of body language in her post-master’s specialization. Margie taught psychology, communication, and group dynamics courses at the graduate level.  She uses her kinesics expertise in every interaction.

Last year Margie’s BHB blog, Body Language 101 saw thousands getting in touch with what people really mean by watching their bodies.  If you’ve ever had the opportunity to see the tv show Lie To Me, you will find this little quiz even more fascinating.

Interpreting body language is a challenge. How can you tell when someone is lying?  

Experts say that people lie up to 500 times a day. They lie to protect themselves. To avoid conflict.  To control someone.  To impress someone.  To increase interpersonal power.

Over 80% of lies go undetected.  How good are you at spotting lies?

Post a comment for a chance to win a Lecture Packet from Margie Lawson.

TRY LYING QUIZ  (Copyright © 2009 by Margie Lawson.  All Rights Reserved.)

TRUE or FALSE?

   1. People can send and receive up to 10,000 nonverbal cues in less than one minute.

   2. When deceiving, the speaker usually provides longer answers to questions. 

   3. If you mirror someone’s posture, they’re likely to trust you and confide in you more.

   4. You can spot deception by studying someone’s eyes, more than their body.

   5. People who are manipulative will use their hands to illustrate their point before they make their point.

  6. Deceivers mispronounce more words than those telling the truth.                    

  7. When people are deceptive, the pitch of their voice drops.                                                                             

  8. When deceiving others, people move their heads less.

  9. The best way to appear truthful is to appear relaxed

 10. People who are telling the truth lean toward the speaker more frequently than deceivers.

 11. When people are deceiving, they blink less frequently.

 12. Micro-expressions lasting less than one-fifth of a second impact an observer even if they cannot be seen by the naked eye.

 13. Stress may make an innocent person display the same body language as someone who’s guilty.                                    

 14. A skilled deceiver can control their tells.

 15. People who tell the truth, complain less.

 16. Deceivers purse their lips more often than people who are truthful.

 17. A tissue in the nose swells when people are deceptive, making the nose itch.

 18. Deceivers frequently work to convince others they are telling the truth by saying, ‘honestly,’ ‘believe me,’ and ‘to tell you the truth.’

 19. People who are telling the truth smile more often.

 20. If someone frequently touches their face while speaking, it’s likely they are being deceptive. 

 
 ANSWERS to the TRY LYING QUIZ

   1. People can send and receive up to 10,000 nonverbal cues in less than one minute.

      TRUE –  No wonder people have misunderstanding, get angry, argue, and fight.  They miss or misinterpret the body language that qualifies or discounts the verbal message.

   2. When deceiving, the speaker usually provides longer answers to questions.

      FALSE  — People who are not telling the truth share shorter answers and have longer breaks between comments.

   3. If you mirror someone’s posture, they’re likely to trust you and confide in you more.

      TRUE – If you sit or stand in a similar way as the other person, you’ll foster a stronger personal connection.  If you match or cross-match movements and shifts, you’ll take that connection deeper.  It’s called pacing. They rub the side of their face, you tuck your hair behind your ear.  They cross legs, you cross legs and shift your hips.  They sip their coffee, you sip your tea.

      Will the other person notice you are pacing them?  If your movements are smooth and casual, they will never notice.

   4. You can spot deception by studying someone’s eyes, more than their body.

      FALSE – Most people who are deceiving others are aware that their eye and mouth movements reflect their thoughts and emotions.  They put energy into controlling their facial movements.  The rest of their body may divulge their true feelings.

   5. People who are manipulative will use their hands to illustrate their point before they make their point.

      FALSE — People who are telling the truth use their hands to illustrate their point as they begin speaking – before they make their point.  People who are being deceptive share their point verbally, then add hand movements to reinforce what they are saying. They have to concentrate more to share the lie verbally.  Once said, they can use their hands to bolster their point. 

   6. Deceivers mispronounce more words than those telling the truth.

       TRUE – They also have more vocal fillers, um, er, uh and they may have more false starts speaking, to the point of stuttering.

  7. When people are deceptive, the pitch of their voice drops.                                                             &nbs
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       FALSE – Anxiety makes the pitch of their voice higher.  

   8. When deceiving others, people move their heads less.

      TRUE – They control their head movements.

   9. The best way to appear truthful is to appear relaxed.

      FALSE  –  The best way to appear truthful is to  make your body language congruent with your verbal message.   People who are lying can appear relaxed. 

  10. People who are telling the truth lean toward the speaker more frequently than deceivers.

      FALSE  –  It’s called the Liar’s Lean.  People who are deceptive lean forward more frequently, often resting elbows on knees or a table, as if angling closer to the speaker makes them appear more genuine. 

  11. When people are deceiving, they blink less frequently.

      FALSE – Research indicates that people who are being deceptive blink had a significantly higher rate.  

  12. Micro-expressions lasting less than one-fifth of a second impact an observer even if they cannot be seen by the naked eye.

    TRUE –  The observer knows something is not right.  They may not know what is giving them that vibe, Spidermanbut their spidey feeling (sixth sense) tells them not to trust someone.  Trust your spidey feelings!

  13. Stress may make an innocent person display the same body language as someone who’s guilty.                                                                                            

      TRUE – It is critical to assess and calibrate someone’s body language in relation to other dynamics before assigning blame or guilt. 

  14. A skilled deceiver can control their tells.

      FALSE   — They may control their facial expression and gross movements, but they cannot control micro-expressions and ideomotoric shifts.

  15. People who tell the truth, complain less.

      TRUE – Deceivers complain.  They want attention and support.    

  16. Deceivers purse their lips more often than people who are truthful.

      TRUE  — They tighten their lips as if they are trying to keep the truth from slipping through their lips. 

  17. A tissue in the nose swells when people deceive, making it itch.

      TRUE — Dr. ALAN HIRSCH calls this the ‘Pinocchio phenomenon.’ Engorgement of the nasal tissue prompts the liar to rub his nose.  

  18. Deceivers frequently work to convince others they are telling the truth by saying, ‘honestly,’ ‘believe me,’ and ‘to tell you the truth.’

      TRUE  –  They use these words and phrases more frequently than people telling the truth.

  19. People who are telling the truth smile more often.

      FALSE – People who are not telling the truth share significantly more smiles.

  20. If someone frequently touches their face while speaking, it’s likely they are being deceptive. 

      TRUE – Touching face, neck, hands, and arms are all self-touch cues which indicate deception.  Consider self-touch cues a human polygraph.     

  TRY LYING Quiz, Scoring Key:Meet the Parents   16 – 20:   You are a Super Human Polygraph 13 – 15:   You are two body language courses short of being a detective 9 – 12:     Be wary of kids and salesmen. 8 or lower:   Trust your dog’s instincts.  Take the dog with you everywhere.  Post a comment and you may win a Lecture Packet from Margie Lawson!

I got 8 wrong, which doesn’t bode well for me.  I’m obviously terrible at telling when people are lying.

Bottom Line:  Watch what you say to me from now on because I’ll REALLY be watching you!

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