A Harvard psychologist has explained how to spot a liar.
According to Amy Cuddy of the Harvard Business School, there is no one way to tell if someone is lying. However, a series of non-verbal actions do reveal a lot when you are trying to tell if someone is lying.
In her book Presence, Cuddy explains what happens when someone is lying:
We're telling one story while suppressing another, and if that's not complicated enough, most of us are experiencing psychological guilt about doing this, which we're also trying suppress. We just don't have the brainpower to manage it all without letting something go — without 'leaking.
Multiple factors take place, such as the tone of a person’s voice, their body actions, their posture, and facial expressions. Cuddy explained that people tend to focus more on what others say rather than what they’re physically doing. People can increase their chances of spotting a liar by looking for conflicting mannerisms. For instance, if a person has a happy tone of voice, but their body language is not as expressive – this could mean something is not right.
Cuddy’s findings were associated with a study by Nancy Etcoff, who is a cognitive researcher, and she found that those who had language processing disorders were better at spotting a liar than those who didn’t.