Book review and notes – Liespotting

This post is a collection of my notes on Liespotting: Proven Techniques to Detect Deception by Pamela Meyer. I got introduced to the book after watching Meyer’s TED talk and the subject seemed completely fascinating, the book is even better. I have expected a lot of fluff and chapters with words but no content. On the contrary, after getting through the introduction the book is full of advice and approaches. Meyer tries to position the book as something that would be quite useful for a person in business (rather than only a police detective) with the goal of not getting yourself into a bad situation (rather than using lie spotting to investigate someone’s misdoing after it has already occurred).

Quite a few lie spotting approaches were totally new to me. After reading it through and realizing that I did not remember most of it I’ve made notes of the lie spotting facts that were most fascinating to me. These notes are below. I want to point out that these notes do not do the book justice and if you find the subject interesting I highly suggest reading the book.


False positives

Not making eye contact does not necessarily indicate deception, in face a person trying to deceive may intentionally make a lot of eye contact.

Deception signs – Looking at the body

Touching or covering eyes or mouth when saying untruth

Freezing the body – person lying is trying to control his *real* body language by making fewer movements than normal

Body movements that indicate a person wants to be elsewhere – leaning away, pointing the body or feet towards the exit

Head nodding that moves in the opposite direction than what the person is saying (nodding when saying something negative)

Putting an object between themselves and the person asking questions – creating a barrier

Faked body expressions – looks un-natural, not in sync, not convincing

Body expressions that assist the speech (hand movements when showing how to get from point a to point b) decrease when lying

Mirroring – copying the body language of the person you are talking to, happens naturally in trustful situations. Liars might do the opposite

Looking at the face

Micro-expressions or leaked facial expressions. Expressions that appear un-uncontrollably contrary to what the person is saying.

Squelched expression – forcing a different emotion that what you are thinking. Expression will appear un-natural, also see more below.

Reliable muscle pattern – muscles that are not easily controlled (muscles for narrowing eyelids, pulling *down* corners of the lips – sadness). Forced expressions will likely not have movements of these muscles. Fake smile is without crowfeet near eyes. Fake sadness without pulled down lips.

Blink rate (eye contact by itself does not mean much) – normally people blink more when lying.

Pupil dilation – fear or other strong emotion.

Asymmetrical expressions – most true expressions are symmetrical, overriding our emotions can result in unnatural muscle movements the only “true” asymmetrical expression is contempt – watch out.

Timing – true expressions are simultaneous to speech and other movements forced one are sequential (pretending to be outraged – cross arms and then scowl)

Duration – true expressions should not persist longer than 5 seconds

Verbal clues

Saying “do not” rather than “don’t” to sound more convincing

Repeating your questions fully (100%) back to you – buying time time to think

Answering with statements designed to put you on the defensive

Using a lot of words to say very little or talking in such a way as to avoid mentioning the accusation

Adding un-needed statements to bolster what you are saying (“To tell you the truth”, “I swear”)

Avoiding using I (saying “went for a walk” or replacing with “you” – “you do not do that”)

When constructing a story the person uses extra “cycles” to generate a story resulting is slower speech or different tone from how they normally speak


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