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10 Ways to Catch a Liar

Experts have 10 tips that can let you know if someone isn't telling you the whole truth.

Tip No. 9: Too Much Detail

"When you say to someone, 'Oh, where were you?' and they say, 'I went to the store and I needed to get eggs and milk and sugar and I almost hit a dog so I had to go slow,' and on and on, they're giving you too much detail," says Berman.

Too much detail could mean they've put a lot of thought into how they're going to get out of a situation and they've crafted a complicated lie as a solution.

Tip No. 10: Don't Ignore the Truth

"It's more important to recognize when someone is telling the truth than telling a lie because people can look like they're lying but be telling truth," says Newberry.

While it sounds confusing, finding the truth buried under a lie can sometimes help find the answer to an important question: Why is a person lying?

These 10 truth tips, experts agree, all help detect deception. What they don't do is tell you why a person is lying and what the lie means.

"Microexpressions don't tell you the reason," says Ekman. "They just tell you what the concealed emotion is and that there is an emotion being concealed."

When you think someone is lying, you have to either know the person well enough to understand why he or she might lie, or be a people expert.

"You can see a microexpression, but you have to have more social-emotional intelligence on people to use it accurately," says O'Sullivan. "You have to be a good judge of people to understand what it means."

Extra Tip: Be Trusting

"In general we have a choice about which stance we take in life," says Ekman. "If we take a suspicious stance life is not going to be too pleasant, but we won't get misled very often. If we take a trusting stance, life is going to be a lot more pleasant but sometimes we are going to be taken in. As a parent or a friend, you're much better off being trusting rather than looking for lies all the time."

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Reviewed on March 30, 2009

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