Forget everything you know: This is how you can *really* tell if someone is lying
When we’re making big life decisions, our trusted friends and family often tell us to “go with our gut,” and for the most part, it’s good advice. We can usually feel when something’s right or wrong thanks to human intuition, including whether someone is lying to us.
When you’re trying to figure out if someone is telling a fib, your mind probably goes to all the other tips and tricks you’ve read about — things like noticing if the person in question has shifty eyes, if they’re fiddling with their hands, or if they’re stumbling over words.
But in actuality, the best way to catch a liar is by simply listening to your instincts.
According to Lila MacLellan, a writer for Quartz, “our gut instincts seem to be better than our reasoning mind at discerning truth-tellers from liars.”
MacLellan draws this conclusion from a 2014 study published in Psychological Science. The study found that participants were better at detecting lies via automatic decision-making rather than decision-making based on visual cues, like those shifty eyes and fidgeting hands.
The authors of this study concluded that on some subconscious level, humans naturally have a sense of when someone is lying.
In her article, MacLellan also references a 2009 study from the University of Texas at El Paso, which found that when participants were distracted with another task, they actually did a better job at picking out a liar than participants who gave their full attention to the experiment.
MacLellan writes that our ability to catch a fibber with our gut instincts may be linked to human evolution. She says that shortly after language came about, so did fake stories, and therefore we needed a way to sort the lies from the truth.
With science backing you up, don’t be afraid to trust your gut when you get into a sticky situation with a potential liar — because more often than not, your gut tells the truth.