Ever wondered if there's a way to tell if somene is lying to you, be it your car repairman, your child or partner?
Have you ever noticed how someone looks in a certain direction when you are talking to them? Although it is not always entirely accurate, it is possible to tell which part of the brain a person is accessing when talking.
By watching the Fox series Lie to Me we all know that it is possible to tell if someone is lying just by analysing body language. For example, if the person you are talking to is lying, they will probably be looking up and to the left from your viewpoint. By looking at someone’s eyes, you can do a lot more than just tell if they are bending the truth a little.
Looking in different directions
Authors of the book Frogs into Princes: Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP), Richard Bandler and John Grinder, have done a series of experiments to establish that a person’s eye movements indicate which part of the brain they are accessing.
Thinking of unicorns and rainbows
If you have just bought a new dress for a work function and you explain to your friend what it looks like, she will probably look up and to the left. This means that she is visually constructing in her mind what the dress looks like while you describe it. She is thus using her imagination to ‘see’ if she thinks the dress will fit the occasion or not (and whether she thinks you will look good in it).
While you explain to your friend what your dress looks like, you start wondering about her matric farewell. You ask her what colour her dress was. If she looks up and to the right, you know that she is telling the truth. When looking up and to the right, she is accessing the visual part of her brain and is remembering something.
Your friend gets carried away about her matric farewell and tells you about the first song she danced to on that night. Because she is remembering a sound and accessing the auditory part of her memory, she will look to the right.
While you listen to her rambling on about her first dance, your mind starts drifting. For some reason you wonder what a horn will sound like underwater. When she finally finishes with the recounting of her first dance, you ask whether she knows what it would sound like. She will probably look to the left. This means that she does not know what it sounds like and is constructing the sound in her head.
Remembering what something smells, tastes or feels like
Because it is close to lunch, you start to feel your tummy joining the conversation. However, you do not know what you should eat and ask her what they had for dinner at the dance. You know she is remembering what the chicken tasted like on the evening because she is looking down and to the left. When you ask someone about their feelings, something to do with the sense of smell or taste, they will look in this direction.
Thinking about what to say next
If you start to wonder what to say next during the conversation, you will look down and to the right. When someone is talking to themselves or telling you how a conversation went, they will look down and to the right.
Not always accurate
There are critics who believe that this way of analysing the eyes is completely inaccurate. If a person knows these clues of the eyes well enough, they are able to manipulate it. This means that a person can side-step the tell-tale signs of lying. When they lie about something they can for example, avoid looking up and to the left, making it impossible to tell that they are lying by analysing eye movements.
A quick way of remembering these signs, is the following:
Looking to the right or up and right, you remember something.
When you are talking to yourself or remembering a conversation, you will probably look right and down.
When you remember something regarding the senses, chances are that you will look down and to the left
When you are imagining something you will probably look to the left or up and to the left.
Knowing these clues of the eyes will help you to know whether someone is lying to you or not. Just bear in mind that this method is not always foolproof.