Using Body Language To Spot Liars in Mediations

Detecting Lies

We all have wished at some point in our lives that we could be able to read other peoples’ minds and detect when someone is being untruthful. This is especially true for mediators and arbitrators whose job it is to discern fact from fiction to come to a resolution on a conflict.

But is there a real way you can tell if someone is lying? Yes, says Marc Salem.

A Human Lie Detector?

Marc Salem holds multiple advanced degrees in psychology (University of Pennsylvania) and cognitive science (New York University). Salem made decades-long career out of reading people and taught interrogation to the FBI, the Secret Service, and other law enforcement agencies.

In Salem’s book The Six Keys to Unlock and Empower Your Mind, he explains how to tell if someone is lying and what you can do to become better at detecting deception in others. Best Life Magazine interviewed him and he gave a bit of insight on how to spot liars, a good tool to have in your collection as a mediator or arbitrator.

Below is an excerpt what Salem told Best Life Magazine regarding spotting liars and detecting deception.

Best Life: How can you discern genuine from dishonest body language?
Marc Salem: Think of a conversation as a package of related signals. What you’re looking for are breaks in a person’s normal pattern, abrupt gestures like hand clenching or head movements, or someone shifting his posture away from you. Imagine you’re watching the scene back as a video: You might think slowing down the frames will help you pick out inconsistencies, but with lying, it is just the opposite. In fast-forward, suddenly you see repeated movements that you didn’t realize were there before, because at normal speed, they are spaced farther apart. They’re sort of like guilty tics.

BL: Do all liars have tells?
MS: Yes. When you lie, you’re subconsciously trying to get out of your own insides, and so you overly externalize. A person who covers his mouth with his left hand while talking is usually lying. If someone looks up and to the right, he’s probably trying to invent an answer rather than tell the truth. People look to the left, either up or down, when recalling the truth. But the ultimate red flag is pupil dilation. Almost no one can escape that.

BL: Why do the pupils dilate?
MS: Pupil dilation is a direct biological response to an emotional reaction. It shows a high level of excitation. Anyone who is telling a lie, unless he’s pathological, will experience some sort of emotional discomfort, no matter how slight. That discomfort registers in this uncontrollable physical response. You can’t fake it, and it will give you away almost every time. The only way to tell a lie successfully is to use the tools of a method actor and become someone else. You have to believe what you’re saying.

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