4 Ways To Spot A Big Fat Liar, According To Science

speak no evil, hear no evil, see no evil

Just think of what wonders this will do for your relationship!

Being able to lie, and lie well, is a gift. It takes a special brand of psychopath to be able to look into the eye of someone else and lie about something straight to their face, without even skipping a beat. However, even those people who don't have the gift to lie well still lie from time to time. In fact, we hear between 10 and 200 lies every single day. Yikes. But the best part is that once you know what to look for, lies and liars are really easy to spot going forward. Just think of what wonders this will do for your relationship!

In a recent Ted talk, science communicator and chief executive of Quantified Communications, Noah Zanden, came clean about what exactly one should look for in someone if they think they're lying. According to him, through the use of "linguistic text analysis," which focuses on the language structure between lies and truths, noticing a liar is easy peasy. Such things as "minimal self-references, negative language, simple explanations and convoluted phrasing," are big giveaways when it comes to lying, because it's all right there, pretty much spelled out.

Not sure what that means exactly? No worries. Here are the four telltale signs of spotting a liar.

1. Liars talk less about themselves.
It's all about creating a distance from the situation, so liars remove themselves immediately from the story. Zanden's example of this behavior was with Lance Armstrong who originally, when asked about performance-enhancing drugs, created a hypothetical scenario in which to separate himself from it all. However, in 2013 when he finally could no longer lie about the situation, he used 75% more personal pronouns in his truths. He'd been caught and there was no longer a reason to keep that distance going.

2. They're negative about the situation.
If someone's lying about why they're late, they're going to blame the "stupid" traffic, or the "dumb" train that never came. They'll also talk about how much something "sucks," or how much they "hate" whatever supposedly caused them to be late. According to Zanden, liars do this because in some ways they actually feel quite guilty about the fact that they're lying.

3. Their stories are "overly-simplified."
It's not easy to come up with a lie, even a bad one, so because of the work it entails, language tends to get disturbed and messy. It takes some effort to come up with a lie, so liars try to keep their untrue stories simple and to the point.

4. They use a lot irrelevant "facts."
Although the plot of their fallacy is simple, the way they describe it is over the top. I know when I lie to get a "sick" day, I'm not just "sick," but "I've been throwing up for hours and I’m pretty sure it's food poisoning or maybe not, and maybe I should go to the hospital, but I really don’t want to, so I'm going to wait until noon and figure it out then." I'm very babbly, even if it's in an email to someone, as if I need to convince them of the truth by adding all these absurd details, details that I'm likely to forget a day later, therefore messing up my lie, so I have to tell another lie, of course.


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