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Lie to Me.. If You Can.

Can you really tell when some- one's lying to you? There are the obvious signs, the story doesn't add up or they've offered a nervous laugh, but with the really good liars, can you honestly say you can tell when they're being deceitful? When you do notice, was it just a gut feeling? That gut feeling is your subconscious analysing the person in questions' body language. Body language is a form of communication humans have been using since the beginning of time, from the Stone Age when we did not have words to communicate, we've used people's demeanour and stance as a substitute.

We're always noticing body language but it's not exactly a conscious nature, and some- what specific gender. For instance if you've got the dis- tinct suspicion that a person is lying to you, your subconscious has noticed the deceit through the liar's body language. Ms Khoula Al Wahaibi, a psychologist at Sultan Qaboos University Hospital suggests that we're always detecting people's body language whether it's conscious or not, we're constantly looking for the signs. Are women more perceptive than men? Ms Al Wahaibi thinks this is true. She says that women notice things more than men do because they often look at details men would neglect to realise. They notice everything from the person's posture to how they're sitting and focus much more on these details, reading into them.

Why is the body so against lying? Ms Al Wahaibi says, "We're human in the end, so when we do something against our nature the body is bound to react somehow." The psychologist suggests that even when someone is mentally sure of their lie, they cannot force their body to lie with them, "It'll show somehow," she says "whether it's their voice going up or down a few octaves, or if it's them messing up what they're saying somehow, it always shows, their speech starts speeding up, their hands start to sweat." She also says that some are able to lie better than others. They end up sounding more convincing and genuine, "It may come from practice or it may be genetic, but it is true, some do lie much better than others." The body shows deceit in numerous ways, and the severity of the reaction is often based on how large the lie is. "Some people - and this is the minority- have almost no reaction to the lie after it's said, mostly when they've achieved some sort of personal gain, they'll feel as though they've done the right thing, but like I said they are the minority and their conscience isn't quite there."

The body expresses its dis- agreement with the lie in many ways. Someone telling a lie experiences a bevy of bodily reactions depending on how big their lie is. For example when lying the individual will experience higher stress levels, this is evident in their stiff posture. There's also the common myth that people avoid eye contact when lying, but because this has become well known, liars will avidly seek to look into your eyes and will focus on doing so, to the point where it becomes unnatural. The brain takes longer to generate a lie and stop itself from blurting out the truth, that is why liars tend to stumble on their words and their stories don't always add up, it's also why it takes them longer to respond.

Liars trying to cover up a lie ultimately reveal it. Some liars when over conscious of their movements will try to be excessively still so as to avoid contradictorily body movements, but in doing so they've achieved a typical response. Other tell tales are when the hand gestures contradict the speech, they'll be saying one thing, but their hands will be gesturing excessively to something else. There's also the excessive face touching, liars tend to cover parts of their face when lying as if to divert attention. Sometimes liars will even shake their heads from side to side when saying yes, completely contradicting their point.

In reality you cannot easily spot a liar. The human mind is complex and some liars are better than others, but if we can catch those tell tale signs we might just be able to catch a lie in progress...maybe even listen anyway just to watch the struggle.

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Publication:The Week (Muscat, Oman)
Date:Mar 27, 2014
Words:732
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