Friday, March 6, 2015


I get this question a lot, "What do peoples eyes do when they are lying"? and the problem with this is
it doesn't work that way with eyes. Deception is tricky because people will express the same cues if they are very emotional. 

Before I get into this 3 keys to remember:
  1. One cue is not an accurate read. Every emotion will show up in more than one place on the body. You need at least 3 to be accurate, 2 to be confident, 1 is a guess.
  2. Don't get attached to what you see, because if you are not clear you will misrepresent what you are seeing. You will see things that are not really present.
  3. There are 2 delinations of nonverbal cues, I teach the second:
    1. Cultural like flipping someone off, or giving the okay sign.
    2. Cross cultural, what is hardwired into the system. Why do blind people smile when they have never seen anyone do it?, because it is innate in the system. 

There is a myth  that if someone looks up and left or low right it means blah blah blah. It is not true. One guy proposed it but it didn't stand up in peer reviewed studies.
This is one of the more passive articles about the eye tracking stuff. The idea is/was, when you are accessing one part of the brain you look a certain way. This can be true but isn't across the board true. A key piece to think about is when someone is lying and someone is feeling emotional the same cues tend to be expressed.

So what can you do?
How can you tell deception?

The first question, "Are their verbal expression congruent with their nonverbals?" This is good for people that have been readers for a while, but what about people who are just starting?

Some consistent cues that help:
  • Regardless of handedness left hand is low left when talking the are creating a distraction and it is probably not "keepin' it 100"(accurate). Here is a slide from my power point presentation. Cover one up and then look at the other.

  • People turn away from you towards the/an exit when they are trying to convince you of something. This is them providing themselves "an escape." Most people will turn slightly when talking and they should it makes them feel safe, but if they back up significantly or turn towards an exit take notice. 
  • If their feet shift angles dramatically. Foot angles all mean something different, so don't get twisted on this. Sometimes a foot switch is because they are anchoring their point but if it shows up with some of the others take notice. 
  • If they face you hard and over emphasize, this is an aggressive posture and will put up hackles on both people. Turn slightly and it will deescalate and you will have a better read. If someone faces you hard then you will be distracted by your own defense mechanisms, so turn a little bit.
  • If it is an unnatural gesture (Clinton: I did not sleep with that woman)
  • He doesn't actually mean what ever he is about to say
  • He is feeling attacked but is hopeless and trying to escape and push back
  • I have no understanding of the financial wizardry that goes on so this is not calling Rick Rubin out it is just the first thing that came up in google images.
Some thoughts:
  • All of these can mean something else except left hand. (Left hand low is a 90% kind of read.)
  • Some people lie as a habit so don't hold it against them
  • Does the lie really matter?, if not just catalogue it to decide how to deal with the person.
  • You press them and you can end up with 2 very different things 
    • They will provide better reads because they are reinforcing the lie.
    • They move into an emotional space and then the reads are invalid for deception.
  • Narcissist and socio/psychopaths tend to be VERY VERY good liars so if you are dealing with that then don't try to deconstruct them. It isn't worth it. 
Read "spy the lie"

If you have any questions email me or leave them in the comments.
I you want a workshop on how to read body language call me, email me, come by and see me, but lets do it!
Adam Ticknor

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