Deceit Doubt Lying

How can you tell when someone is lying? Recognition of the non-verbal deceit gestures can be one of the most important observation skills one can acquire. So what deceit signals can give people away?

One of the most commonly used symbols of deceit is that of the three wise monkeys who hear, speak and see no evil. The hand-to-face actions depicted form the basis of the human deceit gestures (Figure 53). In other words, when we see, speak and hear untruths or deceit, we often attempt to cover our mouth, eyes or ears with our hands. We have already mentioned that children use these obvious deceit gestures quite openly. If the young child tells a lie, he will often cover his mouth with his hands in an attempt to stop the deceitful words from coming out. If he does not wish to listen to a reprimanding parent, he simply covers his ears with his hands. When he sees something he doesn't wish to look at, he covers his eyes with his hands or arms. As a person becomes older, the hand-to-face gestures become more refined and less obvious but they still occur when a person is lying, covering up or witnessing deceit; deceit can also mean doubt, uncertainty, lying or exaggeration.

When someone uses a hand-to-face gesture, it does not always mean that he or she is lying. It does, however, indicate that the person may be deceiving you and further observation of his other gesture clusters can confirm your suspicions. It is important that you do not interpret hand-to-face gestures in isolation.

Dr Desmond Morris noted that American researchers tested nurses who were instructed to lie to their patients about their health in a role-play situation. The nurses who lied showed a greater frequency of hand-to-face gestures than those who told the truth to the patients. This chapter looks at the variations in hand-to-face gestures and discusses how and when they occur.

Body Language

Body Language

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