PANTS ON FIRE
A test reveals our loved ones pull the wool over our eyes more often than we think. But they will give themselves away if you know what to look for. "Although they're subtle, if you watch carefully, the fibber will do something to alert your internal lie detector," says sociologist Dorothy Montgomery. "Once you know the signs to look for, you can tell whether your spouse or your loved one is shooting straight or telling you a whopper." So if you have your suspicions, these hints will help you ferret out the truth.
- Liars tend to give short answers to questions, and they offer general rather than specific information. For example, if you ask your husband directly: "Are you having an affair?" his reply could be something like: "How could you think such a thing?" If his answer is more detailed as to exactly why he isn't fooling around, you're probably getting the straight scoop.
- If the person stumbles over their reply, hemming and hawing and taking long pauses, watch out. Unless this is their regular conversational style, you probably aren't getting a truthful answer.
- Smoothing the hair or the clothes and other fidgety motions is another dead giveaway. Also watch for shuffling feet or other body movements you wouldn't normally associate with the person in question.
- Direct eye contact with an "honest" expression is a true liar's best way to fool the unsuspecting. They know you're watching for shifty eye movement and tend to hold your gaze longer than necessary.
- People can't control their bodies as well when they're concentrating on telling a fib, but fidgeting isn't the only signal. An abnormally straight stance with rigid arms and legs is a major clue you're not hearing the truth.
- Dilated pupils, rapid blinking and a higher than usual pitch to a person's voice are extremely subtle but damning evidence of a lie.
- When someone tells a factual lie, they're never completely sure they won't be caught. This lack of confidence makes them more nervous, so be direct: "Where did you go last night?" Then sit back and look for the signs.