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Opinion and Editorial

How to Tell When Someone is Lying

There are always those people who lie all the time and get away with it. How can you tell whether someone is deceiving you or not? I have some notes that may help.

First of all, what is deception? According to my Interpersonal Communication professor from last year, Angela La Valley, deception is when a person knowingly transmits information with the intention of creating a false belief in someone else. It is not deception, however, if the person actually believes the information is true when it’s not. It is also not deception if you are being sarcastic and the person believes you, because it was not your intension to tell a lie.

There are different types of deception. There’s lying, exaggerating, misleading, leaving out information, and saying things with multiple meanings, such as saying “Wow, that’s interesting” when someone asks how you like their new haircut.

It is hard to detect deception. Most people assume people are always telling the truth. Some indications of deception include stuttering, pausing before answering, fidgeting, awkward kinesics (body language), lack of eye contact, and many uses of “um” and “like” in sentences. People may have a higher pitched voice, pupil dilation, more blinking, and odd body movement like pacing or moving your arms more.

When you are more familiar with someone, it is harder to detect that he or she is lying, probably because you trust that person. People who are more expressive are better at lying.

I hope these notes help you in the future!