Lie-Detection Made Easy: Using a Single Comment to Get the Truth 1

By Chris Simmons

You will be lied to today, most likely several times. Wouldn’t it be nice to protect yourself against the pervasiveness of everyday deceptions?

You can, with a maneuver known as the squeeze play. This technique uses a single sentence to force your suspected liar into making an unforeseen, split-second decision. The tactic does come with a price, however, as your response to the other person’s lie is itself a lie.

As an overly protective father with two lovely daughters, I may have been guilty of using this practice once or twice over the years. Imagine, if you will, a new beau takes my oldest daughter to the nearby theater. I great them at the door as they return home much later than expected. Before he can say anything, I welcome them back by saying “I figured you’d be late since Route 7 was closed because of a bad accident.”

So begins the squeeze play. I know there wasn’t an accident on the nearby highway. However, it can be a dangerous road, making my statement plausible. Now her prospective suitor has a life-changing decision to make. He can choose wisely and deny seeing my mythical accident before explaining why they are late. Or he can choose poorly and claim it took them forever to find an alternate way home because the accident tied up traffic for miles in all directions.

The squeeze play works in virtually any scenario simply by changing the false data introduced. If the other party correctly notes that your comment is incorrect, you can deftly extract yourself with a simple “I must have misunderstood (misheard, etc)…”

Conversely, if he/she opts to lie, you’ll see two distinct responses. First, they will hesitate deciding how to answer. Secondly, they will either “buy-in” to your false fact or try to change the topic. Regardless of their choice, you always walk away knowing the truth.

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