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Body Language and Dishonesty

By: Jack Claridge - Updated: 8 Sep 2015 | comments*Discuss
Dishonesty Lying Lies Physical Signs

We are guilty – at one time or another – of telling the proverbial ‘Little White Lie’. Sometimes this is because we do not want to hurt someone’s feelings, because we do not want to tell someone we don’t like a present they have bought for us, or because we are uncomfortable with allowing our true feelings to be known.

Whatever the reason for it we are all more than capable of doing it and regardless of how much an individual might protest that they do not tell lies, there are tell-tale physical signs that they are.

Physical Signs of Dishonesty

There are a few ways in which you can tell if someone is lying. They include:
  • Sweaty palms
  • Inability to maintain eye contact
  • Persistent swallowing
  • Fidgeting
  • Finger play
  • Subject Change

Sweaty Palms

Not always noticeable to the person who is being lied to but the symptom is there. This is caused by a rise in the liar’s metabolism as they lie, which in turn causes their heart rate to increase. Sweaty palms are one of the methods used by a Polygraph Machine (Lie Detector).

Inability to Maintain Eye Contact

One of the most common ‘giveaway’ signs that indicate a lie is being told is the inability to maintain eye contact throughout the conversation. The individual will often try and focus on another point of vision rather than directly into the eyes. This sometimes suggests that the individual is fearful his or her eyes will give away the lie.

Persistent Swallowing

A dry throat is often a physical symptom of telling a lie and therefore the person telling the lie will often find that they need to swallow a lot more in order to keep their throat lubricated. In addition this swallowing is also designed to bring about a break in the conversation in order to facilitate the liar thinking for a few seconds.


This is more common in children than in adults but not unknown in adults. Fidgeting represents a physical manifestation of the mind’s jumping from one thing to another, juxtaposing between fact and fiction if you will. Children tend to fidget because they are uncomfortable about being caught telling a lie as opposed to actually telling the lie.

Finger Play

Again this is something that children do more than adults but some adults still do. Playing with their fingers helps the child or adult control their fidgeting – children learn to do this as they get older and reach their teenage years. Experts often look for movement of the hands and eyes in order to tell if a lie is being told.

Subject Change

A very common way of avoiding a lie in an adult, Subject Change is often accompanied by a sudden physical movement such as getting up from a chair or moving out of the line of sight of another individual. This sudden physical movement plus the Subject Change – which can normally be something like ‘Look at that’ or ‘What are they doing?’ – Often indicates that the individual has found his or herself unable to continue the lie without stumbling.

These are common but important ways of identifying dishonesty but it is important to stress that these are often used to best effect by professionals.

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Why would you want to get your in trouble why did she tell others i burn her heartbroken cause of her keep doingbit help im giving up dint want to keep justifing i myst have upset her
ltnby - 8-Sep-15 @ 11:29 PM
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