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How to Tell If Someone Is Lying, According to Science and TIME


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Here’s how to tell if someone is lying and how to resist deception:

  • Use cognitive load: You want to reduce how much thinking you need to do and increase the amount they need to.
  • Be motivated: You can boost your ability to detect deception by actively trying.
  • Watch your emotions: When you’re feeling you’re not thinking. Stay objective.
  • Stories are dangerous: They are the most powerful way to influence someone.
  • Know thyself: People with a strong sense of self were able to resist the most intense manipulation by cults.

Are you still feeling like you’re a little too trusting and won’t be a good lie detector? Well, that’s a very good thing.

Ironically, what makes us unsuccessful at lie detection makes us happier and more successful as human beings in the big picture.

Research shows trusting people more and seeing the world as a little better than it is leads to a better life. Here’s Maria:

It’s actually not good to spot deception. It’s much, much better to go through life with slightly rose-tinted glasses, to use a cliché. The best evidence of how incredibly important and adaptive that is is that the only subset of the population that doesn’t have this bias are clinically depressed. It’s one of those great ironies of this human condition: the very thing that makes you not just a successful, but a happy human being is the exact same thing that makes you vulnerable to con artists. Research shows extensively that being trusting actually correlates with all sorts of great things. It’s correlated with high intelligence. It’s correlated with happiness, with better health, with better life outcomes, so it’s very psychologically protective in some sort of way. We need to trust one another. We need to forge relationships, build connections.

When you’re dealing with that used car salesman, get motivated to detect lies, use cognitive load, watch your emotions, don’t get swept into stories and keep a strong sense of who you are.

But most of the time you should trust those around you. Give people the benefit of the doubt. It’s the secret to more success, better relationships and a happier life.

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