Deception, doubt, lie
How to determine that someone is lying? Recognizing non-verbal deception signals can be very helpful. So, what signals are sent by deceivers? One of the most common symbols of deception was the image of three wise monkeys who do not see, do not hear, and do not speak. Hands raised to the face are the main gesture associated with deception. In other words, when we see, hear or speak untruth, we often try to cover our mouth, eyes or ears with our hands. We have already said that children use these gestures unconsciously and openly. If a small child tells a lie, he often covers his mouth with his hands in an attempt to stop the flow of false words. If he doesn’t want to listen to his parents’ moralizing, he simply puts his fingers over his ears. If a child sees something that he does not want to see, he covers his eyes with his hands or elbow. As he matures, hand-to-face touch becomes more sophisticated, not so obvious, but it still happens when a person tells a lie, hears a lie or becomes a witness to a deception. By deception, I also understand doubt, insecurity, lies, or exaggeration.
If someone raised his hand to his face, it does not necessarily mean that the person is lying. However, this possibility cannot be ruled out, and observing other gestures can confirm your fears. It is very important to consider the movement of the hands raised to the face, in conjunction with other signals.
Dr. Desmond Morris remarked that American researchers were studying the behavior of nurses who were ordered to lie to a patient about his condition during a role-playing game. Those who lied constantly raised their hands to their faces, while those who spoke the truth almost never did. In this chapter, we will look at various options for such a gesture and discuss how and when it will be applied.
Hand covers mouth
The hand raised to the mouth is the most obvious gesture, almost indistinguishable from the movement of the child. The hand covers the mouth, the thumb rests on the cheek, as if the brain gave an unconscious order not to allow false words to break free. Sometimes a person can cover his mouth with several fingers or a clenched fist, but the meaning of the gesture does not change.
Do not confuse covering your mouth with hand gestures of assessment, which we will consider later on. In an attempt to disguise this gesture, some people begin to pretend to cough. This technique was often used by Humphrey Bogart, playing gangsters or criminals. In the process of discussing criminal plans and in police interrogation scenes, he thus non-verbally showed that he was not telling the truth.
If a person uses this gesture in the process of speech, it means that he is knowingly telling a lie. If he covers his mouth with his hand, listening to you, it means that he felt that you are telling lies! During a public speech for the speaker there can be nothing more unpleasant than to notice that his listeners cover their mouths with their hands. If the audience is small or the conversation is private, it would be wise to stop and ask: "Does anyone want to comment on my words?" This will allow the audience to express their disagreement openly, and you will be able to explain your position and answer questions.
The hand touches the nose.
In essence, this gesture is a complicated mouth covering option. A person may rub his upper lip slightly or touch the tip of the nose quickly, almost imperceptibly. Some women lightly poke at the tip of the nose, trying not to spoil the makeup.
How to explain the origin of this gesture? Apparently, when negative thoughts arise in your mind, the brain automatically gives an order to your hand to cover your mouth, but at the last moment, in an attempt to make the gesture less obvious, the hand moves past the mouth and fleetingly touches the tip of the nose. Another explanation is possible. A lie causes irritation of the nerve endings located in the nose, and rubbing the tip of the nose is designed to remove an unpleasant sensation. "And if a person has a common cold?" – you ask. In this case, the person simply scratches his nose or blows his nose, without resorting to light, almost elusive movements. As in the previous case, the speaker may be rubbing his nose to hide his own lies, and the listener who doubts your words.
"See nothing!" – proclaimed the wise monkey. The rubbing of the century is an attempt by the brain to block the visual perception of deception, doubt or falsehood, and also to avoid looking into the eyes of a person to whom you are telling a lie. Men usually begin to vigorously rub their eyes. If a serious lie, then they do not look into the interlocutor’s eyes, preferring to stare at the floor. Women tend to light rubbing of the lower eyelid. They never make vigorous rubbing movements, because they do not like to stretch the skin and take care of the applied makeup. If a woman does not want to look her interlocutor in the eyes, she will rather look at the ceiling.
"Lying through teeth" – A common expression. It is understood as a set of gestures: gritted teeth, a fake smile, rubbing the eyelids and looking away. Such a technique is often used by actors to show the insincerity of their characters, but in real life I didn’t have to deal with this.
This gesture speaks about the listener’s attempt not to hear obvious lies. A person can cover his ear with his hand, scratch it, or pull at the lobe. This is a more sophisticated version of the ingenuous childishly clamping the ears with the palms so as not to hear the reproaches of parents. Another variant of this gesture is rubbing the back of the ear, rotating in the auricle with the tip of the index finger, sipping the lobe or turning the ear so that the auditory opening is closed. The last gesture indicates that the person has already heard enough or wants to say something himself.
In this case, the index finger of the dominant hand (the one with which the person writes) begins to scratch the neck directly under the ear or the entire side of the neck. Our observations showed an interesting feature: usually a person scratches his neck no more than five times. The number of scratching is very rarely less than five and even less than five times. This gesture speaks of doubts and uncertainties. It is characteristic of a person who could tell you: "Not sure I agree with you". Scratching the neck becomes especially noticeable when pronounced aloud words contradict such a position, that is, if a person tells you: "I understand your feelings".
Desmond Morris noticed in the process of researching gestures accompanying a lie that it is not true that leads to irritation of the delicate facial and cervical tissues, and scratching and rubbing is designed to eliminate unpleasant sensations. This explanation seems quite reasonable when we begin to analyze such a gesture as the collar’s delay. Both those who tell lies and those who feel that they are being deceived are resorting to it. A lie causes excessive sweating if the deceiver senses that he has been bitten through. If a person is angry or depressed, he tries to pull off the collar so that air can freely circulate around the neck. When you notice that a person is putting off a collar, ask him: "Would you please repeat that?" or ask: "Explain this moment to me in more detail.". Then a potential liar can give up his game.
Morris believes that a man takes his fingers in his mouth when under pressure. This is an unconscious attempt to return to the child’s sense of security when the baby sucks the breast. A small child associates a thumb with his chest, and when he becomes an adult, he replaces the habit of sucking his finger with the habit of smoking a cigarette or pipe, chewing a pen or pencil, etc. If all other gestures related to putting a hand to his mouth, talk about deception or doubt then a finger placed in the mouth indicates an internal need for support and approval. If you have noticed such a gesture with the interlocutor, support him, give him guarantees and convince him of your good intentions.
Interpretation and common mistakes
The ability to accurately interpret a gesture with a hand raised to a person, in certain circumstances, requires time and lengthy observations. We can definitely say that if a person raised his hand to his face, then a negative thought crept into his consciousness. But what is the nature of this thought? It can be about doubt, deception, uncertainty, exaggeration, fear or deliberate lies. The true art of interpreting gestures lies in the exact understanding of what kind of negative meaning the observed gesture has. This can be done only by carefully analyzing all the previous gestures and accurately understanding the context.
I will give an example. My friend, with whom I always play chess, often rubs his ear and touches his nose during the game, but this happens only when he is not sure which move he should take. As soon as I notice his gestures, I understand that the scale leans in my direction, and I try to use the advantage gained. I noticed that as soon as I indicated my intention, having touched the figure, my friend immediately issued a series of movements suggesting that he began to think about my move. If at this moment he is sitting, leaning back in his chair, folding his fingertips (a sign of confidence), then I can assume that my turn is familiar to him and he knows how to answer it. If, after I touched the figure, he covers his mouth or begins to rub his ear, it means that he is not sure of my course, of the correctness of his reaction to him, or immediately and in both. The more moves I have time to do while he is in this condition, the higher my chances of winning.
Once I had the opportunity to talk with a young man who came from abroad and tried to get a job in a large company. During the interview, the man sat with arms and legs crossed, used a set of critical gestures, rarely opened his palms and tried not to meet my gaze. He was obviously worried about something, but at this stage of the interview I didn’t have enough information to understand what it was. I asked him questions about his former jobs in his homeland. His answers were accompanied by a series of rubbing of eyelids and nose touches. At the same time, the young man clearly avoided looking into my eyes. This went on all the time while the interview was going on. I have finally decided not to take it to work, based on my own intuition. Since his gestures clearly showed deception, I decided to go to the company where he had previously worked, and found that he gave me false information about his past. Most likely, he assumed that an employer in another country would not delve into his track record. If I hadn’t been able to correctly interpret non-verbal signals, I could have made a mistake and accepted it to work.
While watching a video game of a role-playing game at a seminar for managers, a person undergoing an interview suddenly covered his mouth with his hand and quickly rubbed his nose when he heard a question posed to him. Up to this point, the man was sitting in his unbuttoned jacket, his palms were visible, he leaned forward, answering questions. What we noticed seemed just a random gesture. After answering the question, the man again took an open pose. At the end of the role-playing game, we asked him about the fleeting gesture that we were able to notice. He said that he could answer this question in two ways – negatively and positively. He thought about the negative response and how the interlocutor would react to it. The hand involuntarily reached for the face. Then he considered a positive response, and his hand moved away from his mouth, he relaxed and took an open posture. Uncertainty in the reaction of the interlocutor to a negative response led to the emergence of a gesture associated with such emotions.
These examples show how easy it is to make a mistake, drawing conclusions about the nature of a gesture related to putting a hand to a face. Only the constant study and observation of such gestures, taking into account the specific situation in which they appear, will allow you to draw correct conclusions about the intentions of the interlocutor. Gestures associated with the cheeks and chin A good speaker instinctively feels whether he was able to interest the audience or it’s time to finish the presentation. A good sales agent always feels if he has managed to find an approach to the buyer or has failed to interest him. Each seller is familiar with the depressing feeling of failure, when he long and aggressively explains to the buyer the advantages of the goods he sells, but he says almost nothing, but just silently watches his attempts. Fortunately, you can understand the mood of the buyer by his gestures, including propping up the cheek or chin with your hand.
When the listener begins to support his head with his hand, it means he is bored. A person is forced to prop up his cheek in order not to fall asleep completely. The degree of boredom can be determined by the pressure that the listener’s head exerts on the supporting hand. If the head is completely laid on the palm, then boredom reached its apogee. An even more obvious signal is the apparent snoring and the head, comfortably on the table! Tapping with your fingers on the table or with your toes on the floor is often mistakenly interpreted as a signal of boredom, but in reality these movements indicate impatience. If you notice such signals during the performance, then you should somehow involve the person tapping the fingers in the process, otherwise it may negatively affect the rest of the audience. If the audience is divided into those who support their heads with their hands, and those who impatiently taps their fingers, it is time for the speaker to finish. Remember that the speed of tapping indicates the degree of impatience of the listener. The faster he is. banging, the more impatient and annoyed.
If a person supports the neck with his palm closed, it means that he appreciates you. In this case, the index finger is often directed upwards. If a person has lost interest in your words, but wants to seem polite, his posture will begin to transform. I attended many meetings and noticed how the newly arrived managers tried to demonstrate their interest and respect for the words of the company’s president, who usually spoke very boring. Unfortunately for them, as soon as they began to prop up the cheek with their hand, the president immediately felt their insincerity and desire to please.
Sincere interest is felt only when the listener’s head does not rest on the hand held to his cheek. The president could very easily check the degree of interest of the listeners. It was enough just to say: "I am glad that my presentation interested you, because now I would like to ask a few questions!" This would immediately spur negligent listeners, because they would be afraid not to be able to answer the question of the chief. When the index finger is positioned vertically, and the big one rests on the chin, it means that the listener is critical of either the speaker himself or his words. In this position, the listener can rub or pull down the lower eyelid with the index finger, which indicates an increase in the negative attitude. Since the adopted posture affects the attitude of a person, the longer he is in this position, the more critical he will be towards the person being spoken to. This gesture is a signal to the speaker that it is necessary to take some action immediately, to try to involve the listener in the conversation or to finish the performance altogether. A simple movement can significantly change the mood of the listener. Give him something to force him to change his position. The gesture is often mistaken for showing attention and interest, but the thumb supporting chin clearly indicates a critical assessment.
The next time you have the opportunity to express your idea to a group of people, pay attention to their behavior. You will notice something amazing. Most, if not all, of the members of the group will put their hands to their faces and will use assessment gestures. When you finish your talk and ask for your opinion on your idea, the evaluation gestures will disappear instantly. The hands of your listeners will begin to stroke their chins.
This gesture indicates that the listener makes a decision. When you ask a person to express their opinion, assessment gestures are replaced by decision making gestures. From these movements, you can understand whether the decisions made are negative or positive. A sales agent will commit unforgivable folly if he starts talking when a potential buyer starts to stroke his chin, after being asked if he intends to make a purchase. It would be best to calmly wait for an answer and watch the subsequent gestures. If the buyer, having stroked his chin, crosses his arms or legs, while he is sitting in a chair, then the agent receives a non-verbal h. It would be reasonable to once again mention the mysteries of the goods being sold before the customer pays his refusal to the verbal form. If a gesture of readiness follows the stroking of the chin, the agent may ask the buyer how he prefers to pay and the transaction is completed.
Those who wear glasses, after a set of evaluative gestures, often take them off and take one bow in their mouths. This gesture replaces their stroking of the chin in the decision-making process. A person who smokes a pipe can use it. If a person takes a pen or pencil in his mouth after he has been asked to express his opinion, it means that he is not sure and he needs support. The subject he holds in his mouth allows him not to express his opinion immediately. Since speaking, when your mouth is busy, this is a bad manner, the buyer feels entitled to postpone the answer.
The combination of various gestures associated with bringing a hand to face
Very often, gestures of boredom, evaluation and decision-making are used in combination, with each element showing a person’s attitude.
In the figure we see an evaluative gesture – a hand raised to the chin, which can stroke it. A person evaluates the received offer and simultaneously makes a decision. If the listener began to lose interest in the conversation, then his head begins to rest on the arm. In the figure we see an appraisal gesture, but since the thumb props the head that began to fall, we can conclude that the listener is not interested in the subject of the conversation.
Rubbing and patting on the head
A strengthened version of the collar can be a gesture in which a person rubs the back of the head and neck with a palm. This movement Calero called "How I got tired of it all!". If a person uses such a gesture, speaking a lie, he avoids your gaze and looks down. This gesture can also be a signal of irritation and anger, especially if a person first slams his neck with a swing and then begins to rub it vigorously. Suppose you asked a subordinate to perform some task for you, and the subordinate forgot to do it in due time. When you ask him about the results, he non-verbally demonstrates his forgetfulness – slaps himself on the back of the head or on the forehead, as if punishing himself symbolically. Although this movement means forgetfulness, thus the person demonstrates his attitude towards you by striking himself either on the back of the head or on the forehead. If he strikes himself on the forehead, he thereby shows that your reminder did not frighten him. If he starts rubbing the back of his head, he thereby non-verbally gives you to understand that he is dead tired of your instructions. People who often rub their heads and necks are usually critical and negative, and those who slap their foreheads are more open and sociable.