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Is it possible to spot a good liar – and why do we all tell tales?

Is it possible to spot a good liar – and why do we all tell tales?

Most people are honest, but when I was lied to it left me questioning all my own opinions, When were you last lied to? To your knowledge, obviously. Was the lie something that mattered? Was the liar convincing? Did they confess, or did you find them out? And how did you react? Maybe with anger. Possibly with hurt bemusement. Or contempt – like my grandmother, who had a stock retort for anyone who tried to pull the wool over her eyes: “I hate liars. They’re worse than thieves.”

Did you feel, afterward, that you’d been easy to fool? If so, you’d be in good company. It’s the norm to assume communication is honest – and that’s something to be thankful for, because we’d live in a miserable, suspicious world otherwise. Less helpfully, it’s common to assume that body language gives away dishonesty when it does arise. Liars look shifty, in the popular imagination. They cough before they speak, fidget and don’t look you in the eye. Unfortunately, none of these cues are very reliable.

Kate Mascarenhas

Published: 2023-06-25 14:00:37

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