How Liars Lie: The “Referral Response” 1

By Chris Simmons

In trying to deceive, liars may refer to previous statements in an attempt to create the illusion they have been cooperative and to buy themselves more time. This is true even if the earlier claim was actually a “non-answer.” In this countermeasure, typical replies would include “As I told you earlier…” “We already addressed those allegations…” or “Like I told Mom…”

Stating something once often leaves little or no impression. However, every subsequent “telling” erodes our skepticism or disbelief. Repetition is a subtle and often underestimated psychological tool. Even when we don’t believe someone, the recurring response reverberates within our mind and over time, can open one to the possibility that he/she is telling the truth.

As Vladimir Lenin so famously said, “A lie, told often enough, becomes the truth.”

Reminder:  No single technique is foolproof.  It is simply one of many tools available to help you discern the truth. However, deception generally manifests in a cluster of behavioral cues, which often provides opportunities to use several additional tools (in sequence) to preclude you from being lied to or manipulated.

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