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How to Spot a Lie

Updated on June 8, 2019

Tactical Behavior Assesment

How to Spot a Liar and The Art of Deception Detection Techniques as taught by active CIA agents for those who trust but verify.

CIA workers are allowed to moonlight for hedge funds corporations in order to spot liars during earnings calls. How to tell if someone is lying is a valuable business skill. Agents teach corporate bigwigs the 'how to' of lie detection for very big money.

A good book to read about this in more detail is 'Broker, Trader, Lawyer, Spy, The Secret World of Corporate Espionage' (2010) by Eamon Javers. In it he discusses Pinkerton, the Nestle and Mars competition and TIA, Tactical Behavior Assessment - who advertise on their homepage " ... rooted in the national intelligence community ... "

Most human communication is non-conversational. The tone and inflection of the voice and the lexicon of gestures convey much more than simply what's being said.

Because the need to speak the truth instinctively, there is a cognitive dissonance that betrays the person's discomfort with telling a lie. Of course, this wouldn't work with a practiced liar who is very comfortable in telling lies.

A weighted database of 'mind markers' of a speaker's gestures exists about expressive cognitive dissonance. Thinking one thing on the inside and saying another on the outside is the reason why able to tell when someone is lying. This is big business as reflected in the article title, 'A comparison of the reproducibility of verbal and nonverbal facial gestures using three-dimensional motion analysis', where it was found that certain words make it easier to notice lip movements - otojournal

What to look for is a cluster of clues. One person is interviewing, the other is off to the side but not taking notes. Each numbered question has a series of dots next to it. After a threshold is reached of how many dots besides each question - the more likely that person is equivocating on that question. Evading direct questions and answering a different question that what was asked is a sure sign. Protesting with weasel words that qualify statements such as; honestly, actually, somewhat, and nearly plus many more shows they are lying. We have all seen and heard these non-answer answers during national political news conferences, such as the famous "Unknown unknowns" utterance by Donald Rumsfeld, the grand-daddy master of obfuscation.

Incongruent thought can bring discomfort not recognized in oneself is usually called denial. - when a person can't understand why they are feeling distressed. A chronic mix up can lead to bad health, poor judgment, pain and stress. The only way out of this dilemma is after self awareness then afterwards - need to reframe the perception and change attitudes called acceptance. The urge is so strong to tell the truth that there was a study conducted on "A study of the effect of cognitive dissonance on symptoms of rhinovirus-induced common colds" (1977), Totman

Cognitive dissonance doesn't happen under forced compliance because without freedom of choice then the person has no other choice and is absolved and OK with it.

After being caught in a lie the interviewer will try to elicit a confession with baiting and presumptive questions which are the interrogation tactics of the 1850s Pinkerton company according to Eamon Javers on BIA techniques. Subliminal coerciveness with mental mind games to destabilize a person's identity in a non physical way is one way to break a person down. Emotional manipulation by undercutting a person's beliefs in order to create instability is used to make a practiced liar uncomfortable, forcing a slip-up in the telling of their story.

According to Scott Shane of the New York Times, the interrogators at Guantánamo Bay used the book of Chinese Communist techniques from the Korean War. - nytimes The Gitmo techniques from the 1950s has been proven to elicit false confessions and is better known as brainwashing.

3 Card Monty

The Big Lie

How much do you lie?

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The Big Lie part 2

No .. really the truth this time!

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Ways to Catch a Liar

9 Ways to Spot a Lie:

  1. Establish a baseline of behavior first with mundane questions
  2. Ask a question from left field
  3. Look for inconsistency in their story
  4. Look for fake smile or 'out of tune' grimaces from what's being said
  5. Don't rule out your intuitive feelings about the answers given
  6. Watch for microexpressions - a flash of facial expression that lasts a fraction of a second
  7. Look for incongruity between what is being said and the accompanying gestures
  8. Look for any abnormal anxiety
  9. Noticed if answer is overly detailed of information not asked

Unfortunately there is no proving a negative and unable to have no proof if the truth is told, only when a lie is spoken.

Neuroscience of Detection Deception


High Tech Lie Detectors

Neuroinformatics Interrogations

Homeland Security's program called Future Attribute Screening Technology (FAST) is intended to create "a real-time non-invasive sensors technologies to detect cues indicative of mal-intent (the intent or desire to cause harm) rapidly, reliably, and remotely." page 116 of 'Mind Wars: Brain Science and the Military in the 21st Century' by Jonathan D. Moreno (May 1, 2012)

Your brain works harder when telling a lie and therefore there is more activity in the prefrontal cortex that can be seen with a functional MRI, or fMRI for short.

Barbara Sahakian said, "A lot of neuroscientists in the field are very cautious and say we can't talk about reading individuals' minds, and right now that is very true, but we're moving ahead so rapidly, it's not going to be that long before we will be able to tell whether someone's making up a story, or whether someone intended to do a crime with a certain degree of certainty."

These intentions are read about 360 ms before the subject is consciously aware of their own thoughts. Conventional electroencephalograms (EEGs) need to have electrodes inserted onto the scalp but remote sensing for use of mind-machine systems seems akin to the 1956 movie 'Forbidden Planet' where the entire Krell race extinguished itself overnight from the mind controlled machine they invented due to the inner demons of the subconscious mind.

In the future, Pleading the Fifth and refusing to be a witness against oneself will become another quaint idea along with habeas corpus and freedom of speech. Pre-criminal behaviour programs have already been started such as the "indeterminate imprisonment for suspected terrorists" that is part of the National Defense Authorization Act, (NDDA).

The thought police are worse than ever envisioned by George Orwell's 1984;

"There was of course no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any given moment. How often, or on what system, the Thought Police plugged in on any individual wire was guesswork. It was even conceivable that they watched everybody all the time. But at any rate they could plug in your wire whenever they wanted to. You had to live—did live, from habit that became instinct—in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinized."

All About Lying and the Liars who Lie

True Lies

The check is in the mail. Those pants don't make you look fat. It's company policy. That line of dresses runs small and so you need to go one size up. I'm from the government and I'm here to help you. How good at you at spotting a liar? Are you a good liar?

Everybody lies to some degree every day. One UCSB scholar calculated that people lie twice a day. That seems a rather low figure. I guess if you're alone in an Ivory Tower doing esoteric arithmetic then you don't have much opportunity to lie as much as a Washington politician. A lawyer gets paid to lie, not seek justice. Not outright lies but colored truths to get his client off - even if he knows the client is guilty. I'm sure that if your job involves lying for a living then perhaps an average of 600 lies a day would be normal.

Paid professional liars who earn a buck by it are not the same type of liars as are people who lie in their personal relationships. Lying to young children about Santa Claus is not considered evil or wrong. If your girlfriend asks you if she needs breast implants, it's best to always say no - even if they look like two raisins on an ironing board. Being brutally honest and honestly brutal are two different things.

Lying is definitely OK if it would save a person's life. If a genocidal crowd was at your door demanding if you're harboring any unwanted outcasts then it would be morally right to hide a defenseless would be victim. Or to save your own life, it could be possible to say, "No! I killed them yesterday and had them for breakfast this morning. I love to join you in your killing rampage but I'm a bit full right now."

There are different degrees of lying. Bearing false witness in court is a criminal act. Putting up a snow job with your boss during a performance review is par for the course. Enron fudged facts that hurt thousands of people. Voodoo economics is a failed national policy. Disinformation is a winning stratagem of war and diplomacy. Most of these events are beyond a person's control.

What about the person who you are sharing your life with? The closest one to you? Your significant other? Surely if there is anybody you would like to be completely honest with you is your significant other.Or would you? We all lie to ourselves to prop up our own ego.

That orgasm was real - hey I'm a really good lover! The dryer shrunk my jeans. I wasn't a jerk last night when I said yes, she needed a boob job. I can quit cigarettes anytime I want to - I just don't want to right now. I'm going to quit drinking and this time - I mean it! If I can fake sincerity, then she will realize what a nice honest guy I am.I'm fine. I'm not angry. It's OK with me. I don't care.

In the 1993 movie by Quentin Tarantino, 'True Romance', Vincent Coccotti, (Christopher Walken) is using enhanced interrogation techniques on Mr. Worley, (Dennis Hopper) in the infamously brutal Sicilian scene. Part of the script is as follows.

Vincent Coccotti: You know… Sicilians are great liars, the best - in the world, I'm Sicilian, my father was the world's heavy weight champion of Sicilian liars. From growing up with him, I’ve learned the pantomime of liars. There are 17 different things a guy does when he lies - to give himself away. A woman got 20, but guys got 17. But if you know them - like you know your own face, they beat lie detectors all to hell. Now, what we’ve got here is a little game of show and tell - you don't wanna show me nothing but you tell me everything.

The Sicilian scene - A cult favorite

Masters of Deception

Who is the biggest liar?

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Kelley Moore: NLP Eye Movement

How often do you lie every day?

Including little white lies, fibs, equivocations, evasiveness, and fairy tales - how often on average do you lie a day?

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FBI Agent Explains How To Spot Liars

Anger, Contempt, Disjust, Fear, Sadness, Surprise, Polite Enjoyment, Real Enjoyment, Shame, joy, sadness, fear, anger, disgust, contempt, and surprise


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