The Vital Catalyst

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How to Catch a Liar

By on January 21, 2016

Vanessa Van Petten, from the Science of People, performed a wonderful summary presentation about the universal body language all human share and how they can be used to detect liars.

This has become a personal passion for me as using micro-expressions and body language not only allows you to better communicate with others, but as well allows you to spot those people that are “just picking up a paycheck.”

As we build world class organizations, it is crucial we get the right people in the right chair. Sharpening your skills here makes all the difference to reduce distractions from people that are just telling you what you want to hear.

Micro expressions come from the lifetime effort of the world renown psychologist, Paul Ekman. Ekman studied stone-age cultures, as well people blind from birth and was startled to find we all share the same facial expressions while we are showing emotions.

Even more fascinating, he discovered through documenting the research that the reverse is also true. Making the facial expression will make your body feel the emotion.

In her presentation, she goes over 6 main clues to when someone is lying to you:

  1. Voice Tone: Sudden voice change
  2. Ticks: Shoulder shrugs, swallows, rapid blinking
  3. Overly still body (trying to focus on words)
  4. Eye-contact (focused to see if you believe them)
  5. Adrenaline: Sweating, dry mouth, shallow breathing
  6. Coloring: Blanching or reddening

As well she reviews the 6 common facial expressions (Anger, Fear, Happiness, Contempt, Surprise, & Sadness) to show you when someone is trying to fake an emotion. The significance of micro-expressions, is only a tiny fraction of the population can fake them (and they are probably all working in Hollywood).

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2 comments on “How to Catch a Liar

  1. nice article your are my fav thank you for posting. If the person is a good liar, then you should rely on yourself whether to believe them or not. nowadays the world is full of liars.

    1. Glad you liked it. The world has always had liars and it will continue that way as long as they are easily rewarded for what they do. It should be up to us to be able to recognize them and then we should spread the education to help others.

      I like to use the analogy of a dark room. One single candle holder can light up a dark room and they lose nothing by passing that light to another candle holder.

      Whatever you focus on grows. So it is better to focus on bringing light over cursing the darkness.

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