Research-backed ways to catch a liar at work

With the amount of people you come into contact with every day in the office, it is likely that at least one of them has lied to you about something.

In fact, recent studies show that 60% of people lie at least once during a normal 10-minute conversation.

To help you spot liars more effectively in the workplace, here are some things to look out for, based on research by Robert Feldman (University of Massachusetts) and Leanne Brinke (Haas School of Business).

Using too Much Detail or Repetition

When strange and unnecessary details are constantly brought up, or specific details are repeated during a conversation, it is very possible that the person is lying to you.

Liars have a habit of filling up more time in a conversation then necessary, as they want to distract you from their deception.

They’re Covering Their Mouth

Those who cover their mouth when talking are often trying to hide involuntary body language that may give away their emotions.

Liars will often fall into this habit without even realizing it, helping to give away their deception.

If you see someone covering their eyes, mouth, or other emotionally telling area of their face during conversation, the likelihood that they are not telling the whole truth of a matter to you is high.

Changes in Breathing Patterns

Liars often become bothered when they are lying to someone’s face.

Heart rate increases, sweating can occur, and other telling signs are likely to show up as they lie to you.

Liars may even begin having trouble speaking due to the build up of mucous in their membranes, which can lead to a dry mouth and other body peculiarities.

Eye Movement Shifts

Eyes are often referred to as the “windows to the soul,” and for good reason.

When someone is lying, they will have a hard time looking you in the eye, and the urge to shift their eye contact from side to side is common.

However, you need to know the person’s typical way of making eye contact in a conversation to be effective, as the change in eye contact habits is what raises the red flag.

After all, particularly nervous people may have a hard time making proper eye contact in all situations, not only when they are being untruthful.

(Note: this applies to many of the other signs as well. It is all about spotting changes from a person’s typical/normal behaviour).

Attempts to Leave

To avoid being found out, some liars will attempt to distance themselves from the scene as soon as possible.

If you want to find out the truth of a matter when dealing with a liar, then you can confront them about why they need to leave.

If you can determine that their excuse is made up, then it is likely that the rest of their statements have some untruths as well.


When someone fidgets, it is because they have nervous energy built up in their system.

Even the most practiced of liars will have their bodies betray them at times, so looking for fidgeting and other abnormal and nervous body movements is important when trying to determine whether or not someone is lying to you.

Strange Contrasts Between Words and Body Language

If the person you’re talking to has major discrepancies between the words they are delivering, and the actions of their body language, they could be lying to you.

Our bodies have the tendency to show the truth, even when our mouths do not.

So, for example, if someone is telling you a sad story, but they seem to have a blank or happy body state, they could be lying to you, as their emotions are at odds with the words they are delivering.

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