By Chris Simmons
Every act of communication should be viewed as a distinct performance. This is especially true when a liar seeks to manipulate you with his/her deception. Generally, the deceiver will experience considerable stress and anxiety during their theatrics. However, all of their focus and attention is directed outwards towards their intended victim. As a result, they are rarely aware of all the stress indicators being given off during their act. For example:
- Watch for changes in their posture. Did they quickly relax when the subject changed to a new topic? Did their shoulders drop? Did their stance suddenly open-up and their gestures become bigger? If sitting, did they ease back into their seat? If their arms or legs were crossed, did they uncross them?
- Did their emotional state quickly improve? Are they happier now that you’ve moved on to a new subject area? Did their smile broaden? Does their smile now show teeth when they hadn’t before?
- Did you notice the flash of an inappropriate smile earlier in the conversation? Known as “duper’s delight,” this is a quick smirk that crosses a deceiver’s face when they think they are “home free.” It’s an involuntary release of their inner satisfaction in believing they won’t get caught. [For an example of this response, watch this segment of the Jodi Arias trial. After answering the prosecutor’s question, she smiles and looks down (00:14-00:15) before returning her attention to the court proceedings]
- If the discussion returns to the issue about which you suspect you’re being deceived, does he/she immediate become more tense, evasive, and uncomfortable? Are they quick to reply and then change topics?
Remember, a liar seeks to “sell” you on their deception and move on to non-threatening subjects. The sooner they are out of the “danger area” of the lie(s), the happier he/she becomes.