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July 20, 2013

The face of Liar(?)

Can you tell if somebody is a (habitual) liar but just looking at its face? Or Are you able to detect lie just by picking single clue that person unconsciously gives away e. g. micro-expression of contempt, particular hand gesture or an averted gaze?

Despite of the classical assumptions, liars don’t have nose like Pinocchio that keeps growing in length as he goes on deceiving others. It’s clear that we can’t (and shouldn’t) can't claim about anybody as liar just by examining its facial features.

I think that most of us would scratch their heads and simply wish to buy or get some kind of high-tech eyeglasses, spectacles or goggles for quickly turning themselves into the master in catching liars after reading symptoms in real time.

If you are asked that who could lie or cheat on you then most probably you would point our finger towards the person you don’t like (by its appearance, attitude, orientation, thoughts or your own bad experience with the person) or who is not in a good spirit with you. Even if the person isn’t indented to deceive us by any chance, we unconsciously jump to pick the same in defending our side i. e. we assume the person as culprit.

On the other hand, we simply wonder or don’t believe if somebody close to us has deceived or tricked us. Personal biases, orientation, likes, dislikes, favoritism, ignorance towards details and intense emotions blindfold us while detecting many lies in the day to day life. Even so-called or self-proclaimed lie-detectors often fail to catch lies and liars in social situations.

Although it's very essential for survival and better functioning of brain too, quality of remaining positive and optimistic is self-deception in the first place because we ignore factual clues. The reason why we consciously ignore them is they discourage us or make us feel hopeless and we can't explore our potentials to fight back or overcome adverse situations.

Behavioral, cognitive and biological deficits and (design) limitations are biggest barriers on the way of way of exploring and getting face to face with truth. We jump or get convinced to believe in something because we simply avoid or can't go beyond our boundaries to search facts.

Lying is very common and widespread trait in human and animal world but detecting lies and liars is not easy. It has been scientifically proved and also experienced by most of us that catching a liar in first attempt of detection is only matter of luck i. e. almost 50% or little more than that.

Like the way I could pick a few recognized nonverbal clues of deception in a perfect cluster during one of my job interviews, only a very few of us are enough lucky to detect lies and catch liars as easily as a wizard.

Being naturally intuitive, women are quite better in catching lies and liars as compared to men. That’s why wives can easily and quickly catch their deceiving or misleading husbands. Men too are good in catching lies and if not - they can become so with systematic and precise training.

Lawyers, investigators, security personals, intelligence and counter-intelligence officers, interrogators and law & enforcement officers need to master in detection of lie because it can make a great difference in lives of many people and perhaps their own. However, if they are trained to catch liars and traitors based upon facial and physical features then it could push entire system into a big trouble.

Stan Walters (The Lie Guy®), the renowned expert in interrogation and analytical interview techniques, shares his deepest concerns about bizarre lie detection classes being run and certificates being offered to aspiring officers. After watching this video (link:, you would definitely ridicule so-called ‘educators’ of lie detection and brush up yourself away of myths.

No doubt that many researchers and experts have done a great job in creating different models and identifying obvious or subtle symptoms of deception - let it be verbal or nonverbal. They might have got success in catching liars and cheaters by applying special methodologies throughout their career.

The world's leading, respected and critically proven Nonverbal Communication expert and my Guru Sir Joe Navarro (retired special agent, Counter-Intelligence Supervisor and Spy-Catcher who served in FBI for 25 years) openly warns that there cannot be a single definitive clue that leads to lie or lairs.

Also, a forced confession is the biggest crime itself so you can imagine that how many innocents might have got punished for crime they never committed throughout the entire human history after implementation of interrogation and punishment.

Definitely, there are two categories of liars. First is bad liars and second is good or white lairs. Bad lairs are inexperienced in convincing others that what they are telling is truth but they are easily caught due to apparent discrepancy or leakage of unconscious guilt or fear. Just a single or few obvious nonverbal and/or verbal hot-spots (significant clues) can easily expose them.

On the other hand, white lairs leave behind subtle clues that remain largely ignored by the most of us thus making them the masters of scandals, scams, con-jobs, frauds and forgeries. Only inability to catch the subtle clues set them free from the Law and Enforcement.

Considering the complexity and dynamics of human brain and behavior, detection of lie becomes hard but not impossible. Only strong belief in truth and ability to find/face it gives all of us immunity against laying and lairs. What about telling the truth? Perhaps, it’s also hard to tell truth because believing in the same is becoming harder and harder in today’s world which has been infested by deception epidemic.

After reading many news, books and articles (including this) about liars and damages they caused to the society, we feel utterly helpless after realizing that we are surrounded by liars, con-artists and cheaters. Other the other hand, most of us assume themselves as a truth telling individuals and also try to portray their truth-telling persona in society.

What about you? Has liar hidden inside you too? Let me tell you a story which has been written in many religious scripts and passed over generations. A preacher finds that people are pelting stone at an adulteress (promiscuous woman) to punish her for committing a moral crime. He allows only those 'good' people to continue punishing her who haven’t committed any crime in their entire lives. Pelting eventually stops because each one of them realize their karma (deeds) in past.

This small story sheds bright light on our common psycho-biological traits. Camouflage, scheming, diversion, deception and cunningness guarantees survival over a certain period like what stripes of zebra or heavy shell of turtle do. Only truth is that all of us have lied at one or other point in our lives till date since childhood for different purposes or reasons whatsoever.

We can’t blame others for lying but only catch them the way experts, truth wizards and natural lie detectors do. There are many ancient, traditional and modern methods of deception detection but we might need to use many of them together to find truth.

Sooner or later truth manifests i. e. lair either confesses the misconduct or pays the price for deception. We all know that castles made up of sand don't last longer on seashore and waves swallow them at last.

Please let me be very clear for once and all that there's no single, definitive or universal body language cue that indicates lying or verbal deception.

Related Articles:
1) Inside Interrogation Room 2) Women are body language experts 3) My career saving lie detection 4) It’s Written All Over You... 5) Analytical Interview: Are HR Professionals ready for it? 6) Are you a 'flying' terrorist? 7) Entire body can’t lie 8) Truth about Lying 9) Baseline 10) Body Language of Extreme Psychopath


  1. It's the pathological liars that are nuts...embellishing is one thing.

  2. Knowingly lying is different than unknowingly lying. Nonetheless, lies are lies in the eyes of the deceived.

  3. We are lied to by the majority of Health Professionals, and deceived by the marketing of food products. Even the most honest of us may have lied due to belief in misinformation. Misinformation deceives many to unconsciously lie.


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