If you think someone’s lying, you can’t really subject them to a polygraph test. But it turns out that if they start their sentence with the word “well”, you won’t have to.
Photo by All Things Social
Over at Psychology Today, psychologist John R. Schafer gets into one technique that’s part of the Poor Man’s Polygraph — a series of techniques to detect deception in your everyday conversation. It’s pretty simple. If someone starts off a sentence with “well,” there’s a good chance they’re lying. Here’s why:
When you ask someone a direct Yes or No question and they begin their answer with the word “Well,” there is a high probability of deception. Beginning an answer to a direct Yes or No question with the word “Well” indicates that the person answering the question is about to give you an answer that they know you are not expecting.
In the article, Schafer gives a few examples to illustrate when this happens (e.g. “Did you finish your homework?” / “Well…”) and details that the “Well…” technique really only works with yes or no questions. While not 100 per cent effective, it’s a worthwhile attempt when you need to get the truth out of someone regardless if they want to provide it.
Poor Man’s Polygraph Part 1 [Psychology Today]