Chapter 7: Body Language
There are a lot of theories, and just as many myths, about detecting deception through a subject’s body language.
Common beliefs include:
- A liar can’t look the interviewer in the eye
- Excessive fidgeting or sweating is a sign of deception
- Certain types of eye movements indicate that a person is inventing, rather than recalling, information
There are many more theories and myths and it’s important that investigators don’t become convinced of any one reaction being an absolute sign of deception. However, there are certain signs of anxiety that, when they occur together, may indicate that a subject is lying.
Physical signs of anxiety, also known as adaptors, are used to relieve stress. There are three types of adaptors:
- Internal adaptors – crossing and uncrossing of the legs and/or arms.
- Self-adaptors – touching the body and/or face.
- Object adaptors – picking up an object to dissipate anxiety, then putting it down when the topic switches to something more comfortable.
TIP: The presence of one of these signs is not necessarily an indication of deception. The savvy investigator knows to watch for clusters of anxious behavior and note where in the interview they occur. Clusters of signs indicate an area where the investigator needs to return later for deeper questioning.