At times, lies seem so harmless, but they can stress us out and even cost us money. On a more subtle level, it changes our pattern of speech, and since most of us aren't as good at lying as we think, if you know what to look for you can probably catch a lie in the act.
The explanation for why we lie is pretty straightforward: we want to connect ourselves to who we think we should be, rather than just being the person we are, this TED-Ed video explains.
Stories based on lies, or "imagined experiences", are different from real experiences because we have to put a bit of thought into it. As such, we'll change the way we speak without even knowing it. Specifically, there are four notable indicators:
- Minimal self-references: Liars often use the third-person to distance themselves from the deceptive statements.
- Negative language: Liars tend to be more negative because on a subconscious level, they feel guilty about lying.
- Simple explanations: Liars typically recount stories or events in simple terms because it's hard for the brain to come up with a complex lie (at least on the spot).
- Convoluted phrasing: Liars use longer, more convoluted sentences with irrelevant details when they could be more straight to the point.
The rest of the video spends time applying these key points to examples in our culture, examining how certain public figures change their way of speaking from one interview (presumably where they lie) to another (where they tell the truth).
As we've written in other articles, looking for nonverbal cues is also important.
The Language of Lying [TED-Ed]