A Cry For Justice

Awakening the Evangelical Church to Domestic Violence and Abuse in its Midst

How to Spot a Liar

One of our readers has told us about a graphic that she helped create for OnlinePsychologyDegree.net.

The graphic gives succinct tips on how to spot a liar both online and in person. The images help the points “stick with you”!
It explains why people lie and how often, giving very helpful & interesting facts. For example, 80% of women say they tell white lies to avoid hurting another person’s feelings. And, when a person is lying, he or she often touches his or her face or mouth to avoid touching the heart or chest (this, I did not know!).

So, read on . . . fascinating article.

Why People Lie [Internet Archive link]

Lying Infographic

Infographic courtesy of OnlinePsychologyDegree.net


  1. Anonymous

    Thanks for the interesting read, Megan. It reminds me of Paul Ekman’s work. He is the “lying expert” that the main character in TV show Lie to Me is based on. I note that he doesn’t include pathological lying in his definition of lies, and he excludes liars who believe their own lies. Here’s where lying is hard to detect in some of the highly disturbed characters that we deal with – they may be pathological liars (compulsively lying, whether they need to or not), or they are self-deceived and would pass a lie detector ‘coz they think they are telling the truth.

    A couple of points about the tell-tale signs: I would expect that a self-deceived liar wouldn’t have the tell-tale sign of touching his lips. It doesn’t mean that what he is saying is the truth, it’s just that he doesn’t know it, e.g. he may mean the words “I love you with all my heart” but he doesn’t know what love is and isn’t and thinks that what he is feeling is love.

    When it comes to individuals with psychopathology, eye-staring is more of a marker than eye-evading. They can look straight into your eye with their predatory glare and tell an outright lie.

    • Good tip about the eye staring. I have been at the other end of that stare many times from a range of pathological liars, and now (finally) I notice and pay attention to the compelling/coercive stare and know what it might mean.

      • Anonymous

        Agree. I too have had that hard cold stare, controlling and intimidating through the stare, and you don’t dare stare back.

        So what about a person who is just shy and tends to look away? Or the victim of abuse, who has a hard time just looking up? Do you think they account for these things in this study?

    • Still Scared( but getting angry)

      Yes, I was going to mention that my abuser believes his lies, that is why he is believable and other people get confused. Why I used to get confused. So glad now all he says is written so I can see the changing of history happening.

    • MeganC

      Yes — I agree about the eye-staring thing, too. I have had the cold, hard stare that I cannot hold . . .always looking down. When I first left. my new neighbor (who was a man), told me about a year later that I didn’t look him in the eye for about 6 mos. I did not know I was averting a man’s gaze. 😦 Martha Stout talks about that stare in her book “The Sociopath Next Door”. . .

  2. Just Me

    Megan, Thank you for this invaluable information. I sometimes say “to be honest.” I’m going to be so self-conscious about that now!

    • MeganC

      Haha! Just Me . . . I started to write “to be honest” in an email yesterday and deleted it. 🙂 And . . . to be honest (j/k!), this article did not come from me. It was only delegated to me. 🙂

  3. Kathy seldon

    something I’ve recently realized about my husband is the tone of voice he has always used with me. This is a little hard to describe with words, so bear with me. You know that tone that a man uses when trying to pick up a woman in a bar? When he says “you look really beautiful” he doesn’t just say it because he thinks she looks beautiful and wants her to know that, he’s looking to create a reaction in her. And people use two different tones of voice for those two different situations. I was thinking back on my marriage and I realized that anytime my husband complimented me he used that tone, its weird now that I look back. Anytime he said something nice it was like he was saying it at me, instead of to me. He didn’t say it just because it was on his mind and he wanted me to know how wonderful I was, he was trying to create a reaction. He was saying those nice things for a very specific reason. Of course the result is that now anytime a man speaks to me like that I gag a little, I feel sorry for the poor soul who first tries to hit on me in the future, I have no idea what my reaction will be, but it will not be encouraging to him.

    • Barnabasintraining

      You mean the tone that makes you feel like a cheap piece of trash? Like, with compliments like that, who needs insults?

  4. Oh, I know the tone and it made me sick to my stomach too. It wasn’t natural at all and it made my skin crawl. Not to mention the stare.

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