Detecting deception is more difficult than most people realize.Contrary to popular belief, people give off few, if any, nonverbal cues when lying. For instance, most people believe that breaking eye contact is an indicator of deception. Research, however, does not support this claim. There are no differences in eye contact when individuals lie or when they tell the truth. People are just as likely to look you in the eye when lying as they are when telling the truth.
In fact, decades of research indicate that there are few reliable, nonverbal cues of deception. And when you think about, this makes sense. Most lying occurs with little effort, thought or planning. Lying comes very naturally and, for the most part, people are good at it. In fact, people tell the same lies so often that they even begin to believe their own lies. So, while we think that lying is difficult and stressful, this is not typically the case.
It is very common for people to lie with little anxiety or nervousness.And ironically sometimes telling the truth can be very stressful. In other words, not only is it possible for people to look "calm" when lying, but people often look "deceptive" when telling the truth.Taking this into consideration, it should come as no surprise that every study shows that people are very poor lie detectors. Even trained professionals have a difficult time detecting deception. Only a few people can detect deception better than the odds of flipping a coin.
But, while few people can accurately detect deception, everyone likes to think that they can. Almost everyone has an inflated sense of confidence when it comes to detecting deception.Why do people overestimate their ability to catch other people lying?.When it comes to detecting deception, we only notice our occasional successes, but we fail to notice our mistakes. In other words, we pay attention to the few times we catch someone lying, but we don't notice all the times that people get away with it. This is a terrible way to evaluate any skill.
It's like only paying close attention to red lights when you are in a hurry to get somewhere. If you only pay attention to a limited set of events, it is very difficult to create an objective sense of reality.Unfortunately, when it comes to detecting deception we only get to "see" our successes, not our mistakes. So it is very easy to develop a false sense of confidence when it comes to detecting deception. In reality, only a handful of people can detect deception, but everyone thinks they can..
Article by Timothy Cole, PhD. For more information on lying, lies, deception, love and romance, visit Truth about Deception.
By: Timothy Cole