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Body Language

Chapter 7: How to Detect Deception in Investigation Interviews

Posted by Dawn Lomer on March 3rd, 2015

Chapter 1: History of Detecting Deception

Chapter 2: Reading the Signs of Deception

Chapter 3: Setting a Baseline

Chapter 4: Forms of Deception

Chapter 5: Language Indicators of Deception

Chapter 6: The Role of Anxiety in Deception

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:

  1. Internal adaptors – crossing and uncrossing of the legs and/or arms.
  2. Self-adaptors – touching the body and/or face.
  3. 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.

Chapter 8: How to Improve your Deception Detection Skills


Dawn Lomer
Dawn Lomer

Manager of Communications

Dawn Lomer is the Manager of Communications at i-Sight Software and a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE). She writes about topics related to workplace investigations, ethics and compliance, data security and e-discovery, and hosts i-Sight webinars.

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