Source | Business Insider : By Eric Barker
Wouldn’t it be nice to know how to tell if someone is lying?
We’re going to see what the research has to say on detecting lies, avoiding deception and more. And this is the industrial strength package. We’ll look at how to avoid being deceived by the pros in this arena: con artists.
To get the real answers, I called an expert. Maria Konnikova is a contributing writer at The New Yorker. Her wonderful new book is “The Confidence Game.”
Maria has insights from research on how you can get better at spotting lies and dodging fraud. She even sat down with real con artists to see how they think and act.
First, a warning: detecting lies is hard. Don’t think there’s a magic bullet. There isn’t. If there was, everyone would use it. And most of what you think you know is wrong. Here’s Maria:
There’s no Pinocchio’s nose of lying. There’s no telltale sign no matter what we might think, nothing that always signals a lie no matter what. There’s so much folk wisdom about how you spot a liar. They avert their gaze. They sweat. They blush, all this stuff. In truth, when you’re talking with good liars, it just doesn’t happen.
So what can we do to detect lies and avoid being scammed? Here are answers…
1. Use “Cognitive Load”
Telling lies is tricky. You need to balance the truth, the falsehood and try not to get caught. That means your brain has to work overtime.
Via “The Folly of Fools: The Logic of Deceit and Self-Deception in Human Life”:
Lying can be cognitively demanding. You must suppress the truth and construct a falsehood that is plausible on its face and does not contradict anything known by the listener, nor likely to be known. You must tell it in a convincing way and you must remember the story. This usually takes time and concentration, both of which may give off secondary cues and reduce performance on simultaneous tasks.
So if you want to make a liar reveal themselves, you want to increase their cognitive load. The more they have to think, the more likely they are to make a mistake.
How can you do this? Police detectives ask open-ended questions that make them keep talking.Unexpected questions they’re not prepared for are the best. Anything that mentally exhausts someone is good.