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Health & Balance

10 Ways to Catch a Liar

Experts have 10 tips that can let you know if someone isn't telling you the whole truth.
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Tip No. 2: Ask the Unexpected

"About 4% of people are accomplished liars and they can do it well," says Newberry. "But because there are no Pinocchio responses to a lie, you have to catch them in it."

Sir Walter Scott put it best: "Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive!" But how can you a catch a person in his own web of lies?

"Watch them carefully," says Newberry. "And then when they don't expect it, ask them one question that they are not prepared to answer to trip them up."

Tip No. 3: Gauge Against a Baseline

"One of the most important indicators of dishonesty is changes in behavior," says Maureen O'Sullivan, PhD, a professor of psychology at the University of San Francisco. "You want to pay attention to someone who is generally anxious, but now looks calm. Or, someone who is generally calm but now looks anxious."

The trick, explains O'Sullivan, is to gauge their behavior against a baseline. Is a person's behavior falling away from how they would normally act? If it is, that could mean that something is up.

Tip No. 4: Look for Insincere Emotions

"Most people can't fake smile," says O'Sullivan. "The timing will be wrong, it will be held too long, or it will be blended with other things. Maybe it will be a combination of an angry face with a smile; you can tell because their lips are smaller and less full than in a sincere smile."

These fake emotions are a good indicator that something has gone afoul.

Tip No. 5: Pay Attention to Gut Reactions

"People say, 'Oh, it was a gut reaction or women's intuition,' but what I think they are picking up on are the deviations of true emotions," O'Sullivan tells WebMD.

While an average person might not know what it is he's seeing when he thinks someone isn't being honest and attribute his suspicion to instinct, a scientist would be able to pinpoint it exactly -- which leads us to tip no. 6.

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