According to Paul Ekman, professor of psychology at UC San Diego Medical School, only 5% of people are really good liars. So then why is it so hard to figure out when someone isn't telling you the truth? Well, here are a few tricks that'll make it easier to tell when someone's trying to pull the wool over your eyes.

  • Learn to watch the entire face as a unit. Pay attention to unexpected movements in the mouth and forehead. Most people make the mistake of focusing on only one part of the face, usually the eyes, and end up missing telltale signs.
  • Also, listen for changes in their voice. Many people speak more quietly when they say something they know isn't true. Others overcompensate and actually raise their voice to cover up a lie.
  • And don't rely on classic signals of lying, like sweaty palms, fidgety hands, or lack of eye contact. Yes, the person could be lying   but they might just be afraid you won't believe what they have to say - especially when it comes to your kids.
  • Finally, when criminals confess, it's usually to people who show they're paying close attention. If a liar thinks you're going to listen and try to understand, they'll be more tempted to tell you the truth. Start a conversation by saying, "You look like you have something to get off your chest"   and just see what happens.

If you want to go further, pick up Dr. Ekman's book, "Emotions Revealed."