The verbal and physical signs of lying are harder to detect than people believe! Tests reveal that people are skilled at identifying commonly displayed cues - such as hesitations and hand gestures - but these signs are produced more often when someone is telling the truth. Liars are also skilled at suppressing these signals to avoid detection, researchers found. The results of the study are published in the Journal of Cognition
Psychologists used an interactive game to assess the types of speech and gestures speakers produce when lying, and which clues listeners interpret as evidence that a statement is false. It is found that listeners make judgements on whether something is true within a few hundred milliseconds of encountering a cue. However, they found that the common cues associated with lying were more likely to be used if the speaker is telling the truth.
"The findings suggests that we have strong preconceptions about the behavior associated with lying, which we act on almost instinctively when listening to others. However, we don't necessarily produce these cues when we're lying, perhaps because we try to suppress them." Researchers say the study helps understand the psychological dynamics that shape deception.