How Intelligence Officers Detect Lying

How Law Enforcement Can Tell If Someone is Lying

There is no single nonverbal or body language movement, facial expression, or microexpression to detect lying. However, a combination of certain behaviours and expressions can strongly suggest a person is untruthful. Intelligence officers and some law enforcement officers are trained to identify these nonverbal body language cues and interpret them correctly. These same advanced communication skills, that intelligence officers use overseas in the field to interpret lying body language can be applied to business communication.  If you can get an idea of how honest someone is being, you can better negotiate deals, hire employees, and even close a sale. 

 

Incongruent Responses Police Officers Look For

Because there is no body language, universal gesture or non verbal expression for lying, meaning different people respond differently when questioned. To read a person’s behaviour more accurately, you need to establish a baseline. Intelligence officers and some detectives establish a baseline by asking simple, chit-chat questions. By doing so, they can gauge how a person normally communicates, carries their body, talks with their hand, and uses expressions. Then, they start asking relevant questions and look for changes in those behaviours. Incongruent responses can guide intelligence officer as they discover the truth.

There is no universal gesture or expression for lying, meaning different people respond differently when questioned. To read a person’s behaviour more accurately, you need to establish a baseline. Intelligence officers and sometimes detectives establish a baseline by asking simple, non-threatening, innocent-seeming questions. By doing so, they can gauge how a person normally communicates, carries their body, talks with their hand, and uses expressions. Then, they start asking relevant questions and look for changes in those behaviours. Incongruent responses can guide police officers as they discover the truth.

Microexpressions vs. Controlled Expressions

Microexpressions occur in a flash. They are uncontrolled, reflexive responses that people emote before their conscious brain takes over with controlled expressions. With practice, observers can catch these microexpressions, even though they last for only fractions of a second. It is usually too difficult and unnatural to constantly search for these cues, but you can pay extra attention to key points in a conversation.

For instance, intelligence officers observe microexpressions looking for anger, fear, and surprise. They will pay particularly close attention when they ask reactory questions, like “Did you know there were security cameras?” If fear flashes, they may be scared that they were caught on the camera, suggesting they were in fact at the crime scene. The officer can then use this nonverbal response to guide his questioning.

Lying Body Language: Voice, Body, and Face

Truth leakage can seep out of a person’s voice, body, and face. There are tell-tale signs that a person is angry, sad, scared, contemptuous, and more– all of which can point towards deception if combined with other nonverbal cues. When people learn to identify these physical responses, they can compare them to what the person is saying to see if they match up.

Body Language and Business: How to Tell If Someone is Lying

Business professionals can use the same tactics as law enforcement to guide negotiations, HR conflict resolutions, or hiring interviews. It is crucial that the person you are dealing with isn’t aware you are scrutinizing their behaviour. While law enforcement officers are at a disadvantage in making a person feel comfortable, intelligence officers like business professionals can promote a more hospitable and friendly environment that sets a person at ease making it easy for them less guarded. Therefore, you can more easily establish a baseline [their normal mannerism] to interpret their behaviour. But remember, keep your knowledge and skills to yourself or people will start to guard their behaviour around you and worse won’t want to interact with you. Few people like demask and read like a book.

 

There is a lot to cover when discussing body language and how to detect lying. Learning to read body language and micro-expressions can be complex, but it doesn’t have to be difficult. Learn how to uncover a person’s true thoughts and feelings; John English offers a Learning to read non-verbal behaviour Workshop: Discover Truth About Lies. There is limited space for this powerful two-day workshop on reading others and learning to make sense of truth and lies. Sign up today!

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Key Takeaways

Micro expressions are rapid, involuntary facial expressions that convey genuine emotions within milliseconds.

These expressions, such as joy, surprise, anger, and sadness, are universal and difficult to control, making them crucial for understanding authentic feelings.

With training, individuals can learn to detect these subtle cues, enhancing emotional intelligence and communication skills.

Professionals, including law enforcement officers and business negotiators, rely on this skill to identify deception and fine-tune negotiations.

By recognizing micro expressions, individuals can gain valuable insights into others’ emotions, facilitating better decision-making and more effective interpersonal interactions.

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