By Russ Warner, VP Marketing –
Can you tell when someone is lying to you? It might be fairly easy if it’s your child, sibling, spouse or very close friend. Beyond that, studies show that detecting lies by observation is about 65% accurate. That’s only slightly better than a coin toss.
Let’s face it — people lie. And we lie for a variety of reasons, some well intended and some malicious or hurtful. It’s important to learn to identify deception that could otherwise inflict upon us embarrassment, financial loss or even physical harm.
Lie Detection Aids
Despite common belief, there is no single, surefire strategy to detecting deception through body language. There are some behaviors, however, that indicate “psychological discomfort, anxiety or distress” and reveal that a particular issue bothers the person being questioned.
Joe Navarro, experienced FBI special agent and founding member of FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit, gave six key observable indicators of deception. They are:
1- Lip compression. We often see this with people testifying.
2- Ventilating behaviors, such as pulling on one’s collar.
3- Touching the neck, which is “something we do when we are anxious or nervous or scared.”
4- Distancing behaviors, such as turning the body away while maintaining eye contact.
5- Eye touching. Navarro says we do this “when something asked of us bothers us.”
6- Lowering or hiding the thumbs, which “communicates insecurities or lack of commitment.”
Playing on Emotions
After discovering which issues bother the individual, the second step is to figure out why. We do this by asking deeper questions related to those issues.
Navarro recommended that they be “emotion-based such as, ‘When you found the body how did you feel?’ The liar knows how to lie about finding the body but not the emotions attached, so they sound mechanical.”
While this might be a great question for an FBI agent to ask, our personal situations in the business world are hopefully very different, but the concept is the same. Ask questions that trigger observable stress in the other person, getting increasingly specific until you can nail down the why.
Asking the Right Questions
Obviously, lie detection needs will vary by industry. Hiring managers do not normally need to interrogate their applicants in FBI fashion, but asking the right questions in an interview could help reveal issues with potential flags.
Lie detection is vital to eliminating corruption and dishonesty in the workplace. Fortunately, state-of-the-art EyeDetect™ technology has been developed providing detecting deception with unprecedented accuracy. Make the task more objective, accurate and measurable.