People have been trying to master the recognition of lies for thousands of years – and they have failed miserably.
In fact, polygraphs are not reliable. With less than 15 minutes of training, people are able to consistently beat the test.
IN National Academy of Sciences of the United States he even said that “the federal government should not rely on polygraph examinations to screen future or current employees, or to identify spies or other national security risks, as test results are too inaccurate.”
So is there a way to detect lies based on the truth science? In fact, yes, and that includes understanding the psychology behind how liars think.
In 2009, High-value detainee interrogation team (HIG) was created to develop new best practices for recognizing lies, and by 2016 they had spent more than $ 15 million on more than 100 research projects with top psychologists.
So what do people who are incredibly good at catching liars on the spot do? I adapted HIG’s findings for simplicity:
1. They are beautiful
You have to make the liar like you. To open. Let’s talk a lot. And make a mistake that exposes their deception.
It’s a great trick to think of yourself as a “friendly journalist.” Good journalists do their homework before writing an article. The more information you enter into a conversation, the better your internal lie detector will be calibrated.
And then there is the “friendly” part. The HIG report found that the “bad cop” is not effective, but the “good cop” is. Everyone wants to be treated with respect. And when people are, they are more likely to talk.
2. Do not rely too much on body language
Aldert Vreea professor of psychology and a leading expert in recognizing lies, says body language signals are rarely predictive.
Let me turn directly to a common myth: “Liars will not look you in the eye.” The HIG’s review of the study found that “aversion to the eyes has never been proven to be a reliable indicator.”
And if that’s not enough to dispel the myth, there is A 1978 study for the interpersonal behavior of imprisoned psychopaths. Guess what? They look people in the eye Moree often by non-psychopaths.
3. Ask unexpected questions
Ask a minor at a bar how old he is and you will confidently hear “I’m 21”. But what if you ask them, “What’s your date of birth?” This is an extremely easy question for someone telling the truth, but the liar will probably have to pause to do some math. I got you.
The HIG report cites a study that shows that standard airport security methods typically capture less than 5% of passengers lying down. But when inspectors used unexpected questions, that number rose to 66 percent.
So start with the expected questions. It’s not scary and it gives you information – but more importantly, it gives you a baseline. Then ask them a question that is easy for a liar to answer, but the liar would not be ready.
Measure the reaction. Did they respond calmly and quickly, or did their response lag suddenly increase?
Ask for verifiable details. “So if I call your boss, she can confirm that you were at this meeting yesterday?” The truths will be able to answer this quickly and easily. Liars will be reluctant.
Another example: “What was Emily wearing at the meeting?” Again easy for honest people, but a nightmare for liars. It’s verifiable – and they know it.
4. Use strategic evidence
Do your homework beforehand, right? All right. Create a report. Make them talk. Get them to say something that contradicts the information you dug up.
Ask for clarification to commit to it. And then, “I’m sorry, I’m confused. You said you were with Gary yesterday. But Gary was in France all week.” Ask yourself the magic questions: Do they seem to think hard? Does their hastily collected answer contradict something else by digging their grave deeper?
or Swedish police survey from 2006 show that they usually find lies 56.1% of the time. Those with training in “strategic use of evidence” scored 85.4%.
You want to gradually reveal evidence. Repetitive contradictions can make them simply admit their shame. This is more likely to make their lie more and more obvious.
5. Don’t challenge them too early
If you immediately start asking what they say or accusing them of lying, they may not only shut up, but they may also start to change their story.
Why do you want to help them lie better. The goal is to make them want to put everything there and paint in the corner.
Herein lies the problem with working with slippery people: they get good feedback, you don’t. If I lie and they don’t catch me, I see what works. If I lie and get caught, I see what doesn’t work.
On the other hand, most of the time you don’t get feedback on whether someone has been honest with you. So liars are always getting better. You are not. And that gives them an advantage. Don’t help them improve further.
Eric Barker is the author of the bestsellers of “The barking of the wrong tree“and “Play well with others: The surprising science behind why everything you know about relationships is (mostly) wrong.” Eric has lectured at MIT, Yale, Google and US Central Command. Follow him on Twitter @bakadesuyo.
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