Can you really tell when someone is lying using NLP?

Recently I have seen some daytime television where shows are using Lie detector machines or so called experts who claim they know when someone is lying with 96% accuracy. Jeremy Kyle, Tricia and Judge Judy are some.

Judge Judy claims to know when someone is lying by their “Eye Accessing Cues,” a little more about them in a moment, Jeremy Kyle uses a lie detector machine and Tricia uses an expert. Some of the results and the shows hosts assertions change people’s lives; for the good or the worst only the individual’s concerned will know in time.

On a recent repeated show of Jeremy Kyle’s, five people took lie detector tests, four came back that they were telling the truth, the fifth’s result came back as inconclusive. Apparently the person being tested had a slight reaction, not enough for the expert to say they were lying. Jeremy Kyle then added, “One day you may tell her the truth.” This is a very damaging and dangerous remark because of the asserted implication that the person was lying and the seed of doubt is sowed in the other four minds. The preverbal, “Maggot eating away inside the apple,” as they now cannot help but question everything the other person says or does and go over events to look for clues that they may have lied.

At Talisman Training and Empowerment Training we know there is a difference between “The Truth” and someone lying. If someone believes what they are saying is the truth, then they are telling “Their Truth,” and cannot be said to be lying. This may not be the objective truth of say a video of a particular event, and even a video will only see and record sound from where it is placed, one perspective. For example four people can witness an accident; there will be four different versions of what happened. They can all be telling their truth and yet all four may not be telling “The Truth,” that’s why the Police have special accident investigators and scene of crime investigators. This is not done to prove someone is lying but to piece together their recollections and corroborate their experience of the event. Our truth’s are subjective and are limited by our sensory equipment, sight, hearing, feeling, taste, smell and our filters. Quantum Physics now accepts that the way an experiment is set-up and what the experimenter expects to prove has an effect on the results of their experiment. For more information have a look at Rupert Sheldrake Online

Electrical Lie Detectors

The lie detector or PolyGram only detects changes in emotions; it alone cannot tell if someone is lying. I will repeat that last bit, “It alone cannot tell if someone is lying,” only that the individual showed emotional reactions outside of a base mark about the question asked. This is the same for the so called experts. The only real way of telling if someone is lying is for them to tell you they lied. Anyone wanting more information about the PolyGram can visit Skeptics

Recent research suggests that in the future there may be a more accurate way of telling if someone is lying using brain scans, though as one of the researchers Feroze Mohamed, PhD, says, “There’s a lot more reseach required.”  See utube clip here

Firstly let’s look at the advice of the world’s foremost expert in lie detection and FBI interview trainer Paul Eckman PhD. “There is NO ONE THING that a person may or may not do that indicates they are lying.” Paraphrased, “There are indications of inconsistency which need to be gone over again and again and areas where corroborating evidence needs to be sort.”

In NLP we use the information from “Eye Accessing Cues” for increased rapport and the benefit of our client’s so this is very useful model. At Talisman Training and Empowerment Trainings we teach a combination of Analytical Interviewing, NLP and Clean Elicitation for interviewing, this is amazingly effective and is one of the most respectful ways of interviewing young and other vulnerable witness, and interviewing generally for jobs and critical incident interviewing.

Eye Accessing Cues Explained.

Eye accessing cues are the movements our eye’s make when we are seeking information. With calibrating, that is continually checking it out; Eye Accessing Cues can tell us how someone is processing information, not if they are lying.

The Eye’s can be split into three zone, Upper, Middle and Lower. When the eyes move into the upper zone either left or right the person is processing visually, in pictures or movies, when the eyes move left or right in the middle zone, that is horizontally, the person is processing sounds, which we call auditory. When the eyes move into the lower zone the person is either processing through feelings, emotions or tactile feelings and playing internal tape loops, called inner dialogue. Generally a right-handed person will look up and to the left to remember pictures or movies and right to construct pictures or movies, look left in the middle zone to remember sounds and middle right to construct sounds, look down and to the left for internal dialogue and down right for emotions and tactile feelings. See diagram. The big misconception is that is a person is constructing either pictures or sounds they are lying. The only thing it means, if they are right-handed and conform to the model, is that they are processing information by constructing or reconstructing it, rather than it being a remembered picture or sequence of sounds.

Let me give you an example. If I asked you what you had for dinner on a Wednesday four weeks ago can you remember? Some people can, some will work backwards and reconstruct, piece together, what they had and others like me would not have a clue.

The Eye Accessing Cues is a model, not everyone conforms to it, not all left-handed people are the reverse of the right-handed model. The only way to find out how a person is processing information is to check it out on an individual basis. Remember that this is only a model of someone’s processing and not a lie detecting model. Also remember that a constructed picture or sound, once constructed can become a memory and change to a remembered picture or sound.

Conclusions on lying.

If someone is willing to deliberately tell lies so the observer or a Polygraph can be calibrated to the act of lying then are asked simple questions of no value, for example they turn over a deck of cards one at a time and they can either tell the observer the truth of a lie about the cards then you may get good at telling if they are lying about this trivial matter. Ask them a question about something that is important to them, something they don’t want you to know or is sensitive, then you might get a reaction and still you won’t know for sure if they are telling the truth or lying, especially if they believe what they are telling is “Their Truth.”

It is unsafe to presume you know someone is lying without independent corroborating evidence and even then they could still be telling you what they believe, which to them is not a lie.

I would suggest that we should all be very careful what we consider to be a lie as everyone’s truth is only as good as their senses, their filters and what they paid attention too at the time.

Using the Clean Elicitation Interviewing model developed by Talisman Training and Empowerment Training you can effectively recover more information from the interviewee than they consciously remember in a safe and respectful way.

Alan Jones

Point of interest:

Paul Eckman PhD has spent years studying micro muscle movements of the face there is an interesting clip of a micro part of his work on U-tube.  To view the clip click here His interviewing technique is called “Analytical Interviewing.”


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