Eight of the Most Common Lying Gestures

Posted: March 24, 2010 in Mentalism

Whilst I’m on the subject of body language, I thought it’d be a good idea to explain what the 8 most common gestures are when someone is lying.

1. The Mouth Cover

When someone is speaking and they cover their mouth, this can be a sign that the brain is subconsciously trying to stop that lie from being spoken. This gesture is most commonly seen in children when they lie, before they begin to gain more control over their actions. In adults this gesture maybe disguised by giving a fake cough. Sometimes the gesture may only be a few fingers over the mouth, or it might be a closed fist but the meaning always remains the same.

If someone does this gesture whilst you’re the one doing the talking this could mean that they feel that you’re hiding something. We all know the “shhh” gesture when someone puts their index finger over their mouth to ask you to “shhh” if someone is doing this whilst you’re talking, it could indicate that there’s something that they’d like to say, however they’re unsure whether it’d be appropriate. If you see this gesture, its an indicator that this person could be lying.

2. The Nose Touch

The nose touch is probably one of the more recognised lying gestures, this gesture should be read in clusters and in context, someone may simply have an itchy nose caused by a cold or hay-fever.  A person may touch their nose several times whilst talking, or they may simply touch it once in a quick, imperceptible manner. The reason that people may touch their nose when lying is because when we lie we begin to feel more stressed, particularly if that person is lying to get themselves out of trouble. This causes blood pressure to rise which can cause the nerves in the nose to tingle. This gesture is often seen in adults more than children, and is thought to develop after the “Mouth Cover” gesture because it’s much more subtle.

Bill Clinton was shown to touch his nose almost triple what he usually did when he lied.

3. The Eye Rub

When a child doesn’t want to look at something they’ll cover up their eyes, for example if something scares them they might cover their eyes in attempt to block out that scary imagine, this is seen in adults however its much more subtle and usually just a rub of the eye which is the brains attempt to block out deception. This gesture is slightly different in males and females. Males often rub their eyes more vigorously whilst lying, while women will rub just underneath the eye. Another similar version to this is the “prolonged blinking” in which someone will close their eyes for several seconds in attempt to shut themselves off from a lie. However like the other gestures, this gesture must be used in clusters and in context to what’s being said. When people lie, some people actually increase eye contact to try and make the other person believe the eye, a baseline should always be established first.

4. The Ear Grab

When we’re children and our parents are having a go at us, we probably put our hands over our ears in attempt to stop hearing what our parents were saying. This is very similar to that. When adults lie, they may tug on their ear a little in an attempt to stop themselves from hearing the lie that they are telling.

5. The Neck Scratch

This gesture is signal for doubt or uncertainty. The person may scratch just below the ear with the index finger, usually with their more dominant hand. This gesture is often used when someone says “I’m not sure I agree” however when this gesture is used with “I can fully understand” or “I agree” then this would be an inconsistency, and would suggest that this person is doubtful.

6. The Collar Pull

When someone lies they usually feel stress, and this in tern will increase the blood pressure and raise the body temperature. When we feel hot we will pull at our collars to try and get some air and cool us down, this is exactly what this gesture can show. It has also been proving that when we lie, the increased blood pressure can cause a slight tingling sensation in our necks, and in order to release this, we tug at our collar.

7. Fingers in The Mouth

Most babies/toddlers have dummies. These act as reassurance to them and stops them from crying. In adults however, if someone puts their fingers in their mouth this can indicate that they need some reassurance because of the lie they’ve just told.  When Prince William needs reassurance, he touches his lips with his thumb and index finger. Most hand to mouth gestures are associated with lying.

8. Increased Eye Contact

Contrary to what many believe, when people lie, they may actually increase eye contact rather than reduce it. Many believe that breaking eye contact more often is a sign of deception, so subconsciously when people lie, they will increase eye contact to make them seem more believable, and so that they can see whether you are believing the lie.

The above gestures are all gestures which are associated with lying. However, a single gesture on its own does NOT mean someone has just told a lie and the above gestures should they arise, need to be used in clusters and you should always look to see whether the gesture is inconsistent with what has been said.

  1. Dr sandip says:

    o..really nice.. Bt nt satisfied with info.. Need more.

  2. Whitney says:

    Awesome blog !!!

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