Actions speak louder than words… this old saying rings true according to Harvard psychologist Amy Cuddy.
She reveals that the best way to tell if someone is lying is to pay attention to their non-verbal discrepancies in communication, such as speaking in a happy tone but with an anxious facial expression.
When someone is lying, they are suppressing the truth as well as guilt which takes more brainpower than we’ve got, often resulting in ‘leaking’ of the lie in non-verbal ways.
Cuddy, author of self-help book Presence, said:
We’re telling one story while suppressing another, and if that’s not complicated enough, most of us are experiencing psychological guilt about doing this, which we’re also trying suppress. We just don’t have the brainpower to manage it all without letting something go — without ‘leaking’.
She explains that most people are terrible at spotting a liar, with intentional identification being only slightly more successful than a random guess.
The issue is that people often focus too much on the content what someone is saying, and not enough on their body language, tone, facial expressions, and other non-verbal communication.
Cuddy, who is the star of numerous TED talks, said:
When we’re consciously looking for signs of deception or truth, we pay too much attention to words and not enough to the nonverbal gestalt of what’s going on.
Truth reveals itself more clearly through actions than it does through our words.