Knowing when someone is lying to you can come in pretty handy. Rather you’re trying to read a bluff in a game of poker or wrapped up in a relationship with a less than honest person – knowing the truth is a necessity.
And besides – nobody likes a damn liar.
Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison decided to conduct a study to see if it really was possible to know when someone is lying – without the use of a lie detector or other technology.
104 people were involved in the test. Different sums of money were distributed to half the group and these persons were asked to convince the other half that they were evenly splitting the money.
A two-minute conversation was allowed for each of the 52 exchanges, where both parties could speak and ask questions as they wished.
Researchers said that it soon became evident of three “tells” that occurred when someone was lying.
The liars were much “wordier” in trying to convince someone of something and they more often used profanity while projecting – using far more third-person pronouns, such as “they”, “he” and “she” as opposed to “I”.
“This is a way of distancing themselves from and avoiding ownership of the lie,” explained one of the researchers. Liars also used more complex sentence structure.
Apparently, if you want to be a better liar, then less is more. It’s all about staying cool and keeping a good poker face.