by: Adam Eason
Does Attractive = Believable?
Research that shows that people that are considered attractive tend to be believed more readily than those that are not considered attractive or as attractive. That is probably why John F Kennedy and Bill Clinton got away with so much.
Did you ever see the film called “Liar Liar” with Jim Carey in it? There were some very funny scenes. Jim Carey played a lawyer who was given the ability to be unable to lie. So he would have to speak the truth all the time and there were some hilarious consequences.
Imagine if the same were to happen to you, where you told everyone the truth. Imagine if you said the exact words going through your mind, can you imagine the consequences;
“Thanks for serving me my cup of coffee. Wow, what a nice tight butt you have.” I actually thought that this week and chuckled to myself because I knew I was going to write about it.
What about other things people might say:
“Delighted that I could be of assistance you nosey neighbour with nothing better to do than stick your nose into everyone else’s business.”
“Good morning sir, you are a terrible boss to work for, no-one in this office likes you.”
“Thank you for the contract Melissa, can I just say what pert breasts you have.”
It might be amusing, and it would also cause a few embarrassments.
When a female partner or friend asks that classic question “Does this dress make me look overweight?” Generally, if you are a man, you know what is good for you don’t you? You may say “you look wonderful, truly wonderful in it.” However, you may have been thinking “The dress does not make you look overweight, it is all those pizza’s and take always that make you look overweight dear!”
If you told the whole truth and nothing but the truth the entire time, you could possibly end up lonely and may well get plenty of slaps around the face. One of my favourite films is Casablanca and you have to love the way that our hero, Rick Blaine (played by Humphrey Bogart) actually lies at the end of the film to protect the feelings of Victor Laszlo, the husband of his ex-lover Ilsa (played by the simply gorgeous Ingrid Bergman). Lying can sometimes be noble and often allows our interactions with others to be maintained in a harmonious way.
When I was young, I can remember my Mum told me that these were called ’white lies.’ You know what I mean by them, don’t you? Research shows that social liars outnumber those who continually tell the truth, we may even know that the social liar is fibbing to us.
Those three wise monkeys that would hear no evil, see no evil and speak no evil. Their simple gestures can tell us a lot when it comes to spotting deception. Put simply, when we speak, see or hear lies or deceit, we are often likely to attempt to cover our mouth, eyes or ears with our hands.
When I was first told about the bombings on the 7th July last year in London, my instant reaction was that I put my hands to my face to symbolically stop myself from seeing or hearing the terrible news. This is observed a lot when tragedy occurs.
Children often will attempt to cover their mouths when they lie in an attempt to stop the naughty worlds coming out. If they do not wish to listen to a parent telling them off, they may well cover their ears to block out the noise and of course, if there is something they do not want to acknowledge seeing, they may cover their eyes.
As children get older, these hand to face gestures become quicker and more subtle, however, they still occur when they are lying, covering up or even witnessing deceit.
In a book by Desmond Morris that I read called “People Watching” and in it he cites some research in which nurses were instructed to lie to their patients. The nurses who lied showed a higher usage of hand to face gestures.
Let me get something straight here; when someone uses a hand to face gesture, it does not necessarily mean that they are lying. It does indicate that the person could be holding back information or you may want to consider looking at the grander scheme of their posture and manner rather than just the simple hand to face gesture.
Today, I want to give you 7 of the most common gestures that indicate deceit:
1. Covering the mouth: The hand covers the mouth as your brain unconsciously asks it to try to suppress that deceitful message being communicated. On occasions, this gesture may just be a few fingers over the mouth, or the fist closed, the meaning generally is the same though.
Some people attempt to misguide the covering of the mouth with a cough or even a fake yawn, it can be funny to see it happening. One of my favourite films, the Godfather, you can observe that when the actors playing gangsters are discussing criminal activities, they often use this gesture to show they are being secretive and it is very much observed in the wonderful TV series “The Sopranos”, another real favourite of mine.
If this gesture is used, it shows that they might be lying. If they cover their mouth when you are speaking, it might indicate that they feel you are hiding something. At my speaking events, if I see members of my audience using this gesture, then I get worried! I may well interrupt proceedings and ask if anyone has questions so that they can voice their concern. Can’t say this has happened often though!
2. Touching the nose: Touching the nose can include several rubs of the nose or it may be a single quick one, or one that is hardly noticed.
This gesture should be read in the general scheme of things. If you are like me and you clip your nasal hair (eeewwww!) then if it is growing back you may get an itchy nose! Or they may have a cold.
There is much research to show that the nose engorges when we lie. In Chicago, scientists at the Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation foudn that when you lie chemicals are released, causing tissue inside the nose to engorge. They also showed that blood pressure rises and the nose does actually get bigger when we lie! There is truth in the Pinocchio story!
Increased blood pressure inflates the nose and causes the nerve endings in the nose to tingle, which you have to give a brisk rub to satisfy. There you go.
3. Rubbing your eye: I mention kids covering their eyes earlier, and when an adult does not want to see something upsetting, the eye rub often happens. Rubbing the eye is often the brains way of blocking our deceit or avoiding having to look at the person that is being lied to.
Men usually rub their eyes vigorously or even look away of they tell a great big lie. Women are far less likely to rub their eyes, they instead elect to use a more subtle, smaller touch beneath the eye.
No doubt you have heard that well-used phrase “lying through their teeth.” When someone is lying, often they clench their teeth, put on a fake smile and rub their eye is a collection of gestures.
4. Grabbing of the ear: Now I am not talking about something my school P.E. teacher used to do to me when he caught me getting up to mischief!!
If a sales person said to a client that “it only costs £150 for our services” if the person then grabs their own ear, looks away maybe and says “that sounds like a great deal.” This may well be an attempt by the listener to “hear no evil.”
Attempting to block out the words they are hearing by tugging the ear lobe or grabbing their ear. This is the grown up version of a child covering their ears as I mentioned earlier.
Grabbing the ear can often be a sign that the person has heard enough or would like to communicate themselves. It is often experienced if someone is anxious.
5. Scratching the neck: Using the index finger mainly of the dominant hand and scratches the neck. We usually scratch 5 times or so when we do so. This gesture shows doubt and is often present when someone is thinking that they do not agree with what they just heard. Watch for this gesture alongside verbal communication, it usually goes with someone attempting to get out of something or politely disagreeing.
6. Pulling at your collar: You have heard the expression “getting hot under the collar” of course.
Again, Desmond Morris pointed out that lying often causes a tingle in the delicate neck tissues which needs a rub or a scratch to satisfy it. Increased blood pressure from the deceit causes sweat to form on the neck often, especially if the person lying suspects that the other person knows!
7. Putting fingers in your mouth: This tends to happen unconsciously and is seen by many as an attempt to revert to the security of suckling the mother’s breast and this often occurs when we are pressurised. Children often suck their thumbs or carry a blanket to substitute their mothers breast, then as an adult, they tend to put their fingers to their mouth or such on cigarettes, pens, their glasses or chew gum frequently.
Fingers in the mouth tend to indicate a need for reassurance.
So there you go, see what you can detect in others when you are out there in the world. Be sure to remember that these things need to be noticed in the grander scheme of behaviour and manner, they are not black and white. If someone scratches their nose in front of you, look at the context, their other gestures and manner before you scream “liar” in their direction.