Have you ever had the feeling that someone is lying but haven’t had a quick way to prove it? It can be uncomfortable trying to spot liars. And directly accuse someone of lying, especially without proof. If you’re right, you have no way to back it up, and it’s your word against theirs. And if you are wrong, that is terrible and unfair to the person in question!
Worse still, even when you know someone is lying, certain people can be very good at cheating. This makes it easier for them to cover their tracks and say the right thing, removing suspicion from themselves and leaving you feeling conflicted or stuck in a corner.
If you’ve been in a situation like this, don’t worry! Get your positive thinking going, and you will see that there are many non-confrontational ways to verify someone’s veracity. This is how experts reveal 4 questions you can ask to detect liars or more specifically 4 types of questions that are useful in lie detection.
1. Ask questions focused on them
Liars often go to great lengths to separate themselves from what they say to add distance between themselves and the stories they tell. This allows them to avoid responsibility a bit, pushing it towards the people around them. Renowned social psychologist James W. Pennebaker He has discovered that many liars do this by referring to themselves in the third person.
- “It wasn’t finished” instead of “I didn’t finish it.”
- “You don’t give people things like that”, instead of “I didn’t want to give them that.”
- “The plate fell off”, instead of “The plate fell off.”
But that’s not all you can do to detect liars.
Liars, especially when they are part of a group, team, or community, often use “we”, “we”, “our” and other similar terms to avoid responsibility for their actions. Not only does he group his behavior with that of many others, but he also makes them appear reasonable. For example:
- “We found this acceptable”, rather than “I found this acceptable.”
- “No one really saw a problem there”, rather than “I didn’t see a problem there.”
- “We made a mistake and we are working on it”, instead of “I made a mistake and my team is now working on it.”
- “Our team really dropped the ball on that,” rather than “I really dropped the ball on that.”
- “We all agreed that this would be the best,” rather than “I thought it would be better, and I made everyone else think the same.”
Finally, liars can change pronouns to avoid liability. Instead of referring to something as their own, they can use generic pronouns to detach themselves. For example:
- “I was driving the car” instead of “I was driving my car.”
- “The decision was …”, instead of “I decided …” or “My decision was …”
- “That action was inevitable”, rather than “I felt my actions were inevitable.”
So how do you avoid this?
What you have to do is face them directly personally. When trying to protect themselves, ask follow-up questions that hold them accountable. For example:
- When they say “It wasn’t finished,” instead of “I didn’t finish it,” ask, “Who didn’t finish it? It was you?”
- When they say, “Our team really dropped the ball on that,” instead of “I really dropped the ball on that,” ask, “Who was directly responsible? What role did you play in it?
- If they say “I was driving the car” instead of “I was driving my car” they ask “And does this car belong to you?”
- When they say, “No one really saw a problem there,” instead of “I didn’t see a problem there,” ask, “What did you personally think?”
- If they say, “We found this acceptable,” instead of “I found this acceptable,” ask, “So you found this acceptable?”
2. Ask questions to which you know the answer
You may not know everything about a situation, but you probably know an objective fact or two about it. When you question someone who you think is lying, ask about the things you know and the things you don’t know. If they are wrong and lie, don’t reveal it right away. Wait for them to continue to build their faked story on this lie. That way, you will have a good idea of what is true and what is not.
Consultant Forensic Psychologist, Chartered Psychologist, and Chartered Scientist Coral Dando, Ph.D., goes one step further. In her decade in the service of the London Police, her experience and observation have led her to use these types of questions to better understand a person’s behavior when lying. If you are especially observant, you may be able to pick up on specific signals that someone makes when lying, as you will know when they are contradicting facts that you already know.
An important aspect of this is knowing when and how to hide information from a liar so that you can use it to verify your honesty. Research has indicated that giving people too much detail too early can give them enough time to plan their elaborate lies, making it difficult for someone to be positive whether or not they are lying.
Strategic approaches are likely to be adopted by liars who know too much too quickly. However, having to make things up on the spot, liars quickly will always lead to discernible errors.
3. Ask something unexpected
Lying is a delicate matter and liars should make sure they are aware of their deception. It’s not uncommon for those who lie often to do their best to avoid cliches, especially if they are one of the many people who are questioned. Phrases like “I’m not sure” and “I don’t remember” will quickly distinguish them. Therefore, they tend to try to construct narratives that allow them to appear reasonable, sometimes with as much detail as they consider relevant.
According to a trained federal agent and deception detection expert, JJ NewberryApproximately 4% of all people are excellent and accomplished liars, often to the point where they do not give clear signals of lying. That means there is only one way to call them, and that is to catch them in their lies.
With all this information we come to a simple conclusion. Good liars know how to prepare beforehand, but the problem with well-rehearsed stories is that they lack real-life details. Asking them something unexpected can confuse them and research he has found this to be a quick way to put liars on the loose.
Lies can often get tangled up, so asking them something unexpected can cause a liar to get caught in their own web. Here are some examples of unexpected good questions:
- Lie: “I was not free for a work dinner.” Unexpected questions: “Who was sitting on your right?” “What did you eat?”, “What kind of wine did they serve?”
- Lie: “I was actually with my friend at the time.” Unexpected questions: “What color was your shirt?”, “How was the weather at home?”, “How was your wife?”
- Lie: “I have a lot of experience in this field, as my last job involved this job.” Unexpected questions: “Where did you last work?” “What was your biggest failure as you learned?” “What kind of computer was in your old office?”
4. Ask for a story
Asking someone questions one by one is useful. But asking for a story of the events they can tell is a useful way to sniff out a liar. Even those with more positive Deceptive behaviors and tricks tend to reveal certain stories when they have to tell a full story, and studies have found that a few in particular will almost always be found in a liar’s tale.
Emeritus Professor of Psychology and Brain Sciences at the University of Massachusetts and certified author by the American Board of Professional Psychology in this field, Susan Krauss Whitbourne, Doctor of Philosophy., describes the following ways someone can reveal that they are lying in a story:
Speak very slowly
Someone who has to make up his or her lies on the spot will probably try to buy time by slowing down his speech. This is because lying is a mentally taxing exercise – you should strive to be consistent, appear realistic, and self-edit if necessary.
Being too lazy
People who lie are often extremely brief or vague when telling stories. That’s because they don’t want to accidentally get involved with unnecessary details. If they spend time on unnecessary details, it will usually be because they are trying to distract you by over-describing something they do know.
Mention bad memory
Anyone can have a bad memoryBut liars will often talk too much about their memory-related problems in an attempt to downplay their inaccuracies. Although it is not definitive, it is a good idea to make sure you do not allow a liar to excuse every strange contradiction with “bad memory.”
Be extremely positive
This one is a bit weird, but consider using this tactic to spot liars. Most innocent people don’t like being questioned, especially if they retain feelings of guilt for not being able to prevent what happened or are struggling with the emotional reaction to the event. Liars will often go to great lengths to adopt positive thinking, allowing them to appear completely calm and reasonable. They can downplay any negative feelings they have. And they don’t complain at all about being questioned (although some liars go the opposite way as well, which can make it difficult to judge).
· Making spontaneous corrections
Liars often need to back down, leading to the need to quickly make sudden corrections that they try to ignore. For example, someone might say, “It happened at 12, no, wait, maybe it was at 2.” Some of these in a story are not inherently lying signs, but multiple spontaneous corrections should raise some eyebrows.
However, it is a good idea to use knowledge about someone before jumping on any of these “clues.”
Neurodivergent individuals can have many different “clues” that suggest lying, even when they are sincere. So if you are dealing with someone with a mental or learning disability, be sure to keep that in mind!
Asking the right questions is often all you need to quickly spot liars. Be calm, direct, and casual, avoiding obvious assaults or accusations, and you’ll soon notice inconsistencies that reveal someone’s lies.