According to eminent psychologist and emotion researcher Dr. Paul Ekman, lying comes in two flavors. First are “low stakes lies,” which almost all of us engage in; these are lies like, “Oh no, I never got your message,” or “So sorry I’ll be out today—it must have been something I ate.”

By contrast, “high stakes lies”—”I did not have sexual relations with that woman,” or “I’m not in love with David Patraeus"—are, thankfully, less common.  

Either way, can you handle the truthiness?  Research says probably not: we’re terrible at detecting lies.  Even technology doesn’t improve our chances—a 2009 study in the Journal of Forensic Sciences examined a technique called voice stress analysis and found that it worked about as well as ... you guessed it: guessing.

And to make things worse, a 2014 study found that emotionally intelligent individuals (read: anyone who listens to psychology podcasts) are more easily duped by liars.  

That’s not to say we can’t improve our chances. While there is no single, silver bullet method to recognize deception, there are two different ways that lies leak from a liar like sweat on a brow. 

The first set of cues are physiological: gestures, facial expressions, or other ways liars wear their lie on their sleeve. In the following three examples, the key is to watch rather than listen.


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