Far From Truth: Most People Think They Are Very Good At Lie Detecting

Most people think they are very good lie detectors but that is wishful thinking and so far from reality.
Far From Truth: Most People Think They Are Very Good At Lie Detecting

Humans as lie detectors


Most people think they are good lie detectors. That is wishful thinking and so far from reality. Learn, why this is risky for your decision-making.

Wishful thinking: Lies are rarely recognized


Most people think that they are very good lie detectors, but that is wishful thinking and so far from reality.

It is true that some people really are lie detectors by nature without special training. But these are rare exceptions. Of course, we are much better at telling lies than at recognizing them. We have much more practice in that. Without special training, most people, even those in professions where the uncovering of lies is critical, achieve a mediocre lie detection rate.

With specific knowledge and practice, people can achieve a pretty good lie detection rate. The more you train, the more accurate your lie detection skills will become. Especially the observation of micro expressions needs a lot of time to improve. But you don’t want to practice it all the time. You need to know when to turn it on. This will make you more concentrated if you use these abilities.



With familiar people it is particularly difficult to recognize lies


If we know a person well, we believe we will be able to see the treacherous signs. The truth is that lie detection is made more difficult because the natural attitude for humans is to believe the people they are emotionally close to.

Yes, most people believe that they can tell whether their partner, child or close friend is lying to them. However, this is rarely the case because there are two main factors: Over-confidence and closeness. These two factors lead to a loss of objectivity that prevents a loved one from seeing otherwise obvious signs of deception.




Body language


What’s said can’t always be checked in lie detection. Much more critical is how things are said and how a person behaves in communication. The non-verbal cues of our body language say more than most of us realize. Relying only on what is said is inherently unreliable. Accurate lie recognition is based on a combination of what you are told and what you observe. Congruence plays a particularly important role here.

Assess your ability to recognize lies realistically. This can help you to make better decisions. Especially when your gut gives you a signal to stay alert. Don’t reject it!


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How good are you at lie detecting and how do you do it?

1 Comment

  1. You are right!


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This article is a short excerpt from the more comprehensive course materials my clients receive in a group or individual training or coaching.

Published: June 21, 2001
Author: Karsten Noack
Revision: August 12, 2019
Translation: August 12, 2019
German version: