Saturday, December 23, 2017

How to Detect When People Lie?

Lie detection is a useful skill that can be used in everything from employee recruitment to personal relationships. Most of us have told lies at one time or another. Whether it is a white lie or to gain some advantage we as a human species are prone to such behaviors. Yet that doesn't mean we all engage in them. Most people simply don't because they have developed a strong confidence in themselves and their ability to get what they want without deception. However, lie detection can help protect us against those who are not so honest with their intentions.

Let us say you are conducting an interview and someone is lying about their skills, abilities, and background. If you hire this person you may find that you need to fire them in the future if they don't perform according to expectations. While most of us put forward a "good foot" most of us would not consider lying as an appropriate method for selected.

Situational Context and Logic:

Situational context and understanding is likely the key determinant of lie. Does the information make sense in the circumstances in which they exist? Is what they are saying logically consistent? In other words, "does it really make sense and is it plausible?"

Much of that depends on the person's lying abilities. If the person is a practiced liar they may think through all the possible scenarios and find that which is most make sense. However, they will often leave gaps in their explanations and have less verifiable details (Park, Levin, et. al, 2002).

The Word Test:

While it is not a perfect measure the use of more "um" in speech can be an indication that a person is telling the truth (Arciuli, Mallard & Villar, 2010). Contrary to popular opinion "um" doesn't mean that a person is stressing to find an answer. They may simply be thinking about details or even be trying to find their own truth to create an accurate answer.

The Cognitive Load Test:

When people are stressed and lying their immediate reactions are often to default quickly to the truth but only when there is no opportunity to think through plausible explanations. Let us say that they are currently working on a crisis and the speed of their thinking and activities will likely default in actions that are based on their understanding of events. In other words, they will act in their own best interest to solve problems based on their deeper understanding of events. Lies usually don't make their way into the equation until the crisis is over.

Self Interest and Self-Promotion:

People often lie to hide negative things about themselves, their intentions, or to promote themselves. Healthy people don't need to do this because they have internal beliefs that being a highly developed individual leads to benefits in the world. They rely on their own abilities and character. When trying to determine a lie think about that advantages and disadvantages a person receives from the information they are offering (Underwood, Kerlin & Farrington-Flint, 2011).

Another way to think of this is through their patterns of thought. Thinking is a habit. If a person is always talking about money or always talking about their abilities you can come to the conclusion that this is important to them. If what they say indicates that they say doesn't seem to match a quality value system you can be more sure through active listening that may be willing to deceive to obtain a goal.

Time is the Determinant of Lying:

Discovering patterns takes time. When you wait to make a final judgement you will eventually gain more information. Let them talk, let them explain things, and let them feel a false sense of security. You don't need to hand over valuable things or given them anything you don't want to. Just ask questions, be aware when you spend time with people, and let time determine the end result.

Some people are Better Lie Detectors:

People who are extroverts and open to experience, according to to the Big Five personality factors are able to both tell lies and detect lies (Elaad & Reizer, 2015). In the same study it was found that those who were conscientious also didn't lie as much and were not very good at detecting lies. Your personality can determine whether or not you are both a good liar and a lie detector.

Nahari, G., Vrij, A. & Fisher, R. (2014). Exploiting liars' verbal strategies by examining the verifiability of details. Legal and Criminological Psychology, 19 (2).

Park, H., et. al. (2002). How people really detect lies. Communication Monographs, 69 (2).

Reinhard, M., et. al. (2014). Detecting lies and truths in social work: how suspicion level and familiarity affect detection accuracy. British Journal of Social Work, 44 (2).

Reizer, A. (2015). Personality correlates of the self-assessed abilities to tell and detect lies, tell truths and believe others. Journal of Individual Differences, 36, (3).

Underwood, J., Kerlin, L. & Farrington-Flint, L. (2011). The lies we tell and what they say about us: Using behavioural characteristics to explain Facebook activity. Computers in Human Behavior, 27 (5).

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