Thursday, January 13, 2011

Nonverbal Cues and Deception

The latest issue of The Forensic Examiner has a seven-page article which I find interesting as an author; Interpreting Nonverbal Communication for use in Detecting Deception. We all know that writing body language correctly is necessary in order to create believable characters. What better source than an agent in the FBI’s Behavioral Science Unit? Following is the abstract. A free copy of the complete article, minus the illustrations is available at the following link;;col1

The ability to accurately detect deception is a skill that many law enforcement professionals think they possess, but often, they do not; at least, not at a rate much greater than that of chance. Of course, having this skill would be incredibly valuable in police work, as well as in life in general. In the following article, the author presents an overview of the subtle, subconscious, nonverbal cues that deceptive people reveal as they try to relieve their own discomfort caused by their lies. The author explains briefly, the physiological basis of some nonverbal dements such as kinesics, paralanguage, microexpressions (Ekinan, 2009), et al. And, she concludes with some tips to help law enforcement professionals more accurately and reliably detect deception.

"How do you know when someone is lying to you?" This is a question to which many law enforcement professionals might answer "I just know, that's all." By saying this, they are presumably not suggesting that they are psychic, but rather that their career-long experience in dealing with all types of ties, made by a variety of people across many different situations, has led them to believe that they have effectively become human lie detectors. Unfortunately, however, these dedicated officers and agents may not be as good at separating fact from fiction as they might think they are, especially if they do not use all of the tools at their disposal. In the following article, the author will examine the typical physiological responses to stress that are at the root of the most common nonverbal indicators of deception. In doing so, she will show investigators and others how to significantly improve their odds of correctly identifying deception in any investigative interview. Through this overview of nonverbal communication, the reader will learn how to more accurately and reliably read people by observing how people's bodies can betray their innermost thoughts


  1. Sounds interesting! I'm saving the link for when I have a few extra minutes.

  2. Yes, interesting stuff. As a Christian, I don't have any personal wish to become a successful liar. But as a human and as an author, knowing the physical clues that someone else might be trying to pawn off fabrication as fact could be very handy!