Every Crime Begins or Ends With a Lie: Detecting Deception
Posted by Pamela S. on Wednesday, September 19th, 2012
Everybody lies, but criminals are practiced at the art of lying. Many crimes begin with a lie, and most end there – “I’m innocent.” I’d be lying right now if I said that there was a foolproof method to detect lies, but there are some techniques you
can learn to help you read people.
Law enforcement personnel and private investigators learn how to read people, but we have developed our intuitive abilities. How do you know if someone is lying? Detecting deception is not an exact science, because there are so many variables.
You can’t call in a private investigator, or the police every time you need to determine if someone is telling the truth. There may be times that this is necessary, for example, when you need to investigate a crime against you, or your company. People lie to us on a regular basis. We all do it. Sometimes these are white lies, where it
isn’t that important to get to the truth. Other lies can be much more serious. If you want to avoid becoming a victim of a con, or need to know whether that prospective employee sitting across from you is telling the truth, you should learn how to detect deception.
Most of the clues for detecting lies are tiny little changes in physiology that might be difficult to discern in a casual conversation. Researchers at the University of Virginia conducted a study, “Deception Detection in Forensic Contexts” and found that there is an association between increased pupil size and lying. Liars are also more likely to press their lips together.
Many people believe that liars are more fidgety, but this isn’t always the case. Practiced liars can control their body language to some degree.
In an article on Forbes, Ten Ways To Tell If Someone Is Lying To You, Derrick Parker, a 20-year veteran of the New York Police Department, and co-author of Notorious C.O.P., says to look for physical clues, especially sweating and fidgeting.
It is not necessarily true that someone who doesn’t look you in the eyes is lying. They could just be shy, or intimidated by you. Just because someone is cocky or over confident, doesn’t mean that they are lying, they could just be arrogant.
Dr. Paul Ekman specializes in studying “micro-expressions”. These little facial movements are exceedingly difficult for the average person to detect, because they only last 1/15 to 1/25 of a second.
There are still some clues you can pick up on:
- Liars often answer a question with a question.
- Someone who is lying may take longer to answer a question, but usually they ramble on, not actually answering the question, and adding unnecessary detail.
- A liar doesn’t take ownership of their statement.
- Listen to the person’s voice. Even if someone has learned to master body language or eye movements to some degree, sometimes their vocal inflections give them away.
- A liar’s body language may not match what they are saying. They may shake their head “No”, while saying “Yes”. They may smile when saying that they are sad about an event.
- Many experts believe that eye patterns are an indication of lying. Read Using Eye Patterns to Detect Lies.
You can’t go through life distrusting everyone, but you should learn to trust your instincts. If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. Think about the times you knew when someone was lying to you. Private investigators consult with many people who just have a “feeling” that someone is deceiving them. I can’t tell you how many times a man or woman has told me that they suspect that their partner is cheating, because he or she “seems to be lying”. Watch body language, listen to the tone of voice and ask questions. If someone avoids answering the question, or tops it off with layers of frilly decoration, changes are they are lying.
This afternoon Anderson Cooper is doing a segment on “How to catch a liar.” on his daytime talk show, “Anderson Live”. People who interview or interrogate others for a living; such as journalists, private investigators and police, learn to detect deception by careful watching and listening. It’s true that they have been trained in techniques to detect deception, but it mostly comes down to being aware, healthily sceptical, and watching for those subtle signs.
Former FBI Assistant Director Tom Sheer has recruited the best from the FBI, DEA, IRS and Secret Service to build a formidable team at Sheer Investigations. Our private investigators have the sensitivity and experience to handle the most delicate investigations.