Political Scandals & the Anatomy of a Lie

Ok, people. All together now, repeat after me:

Posted on | Janine Driver | Comments ()

Ok, people. All together now, repeat after me:

People lie. Every day. About things big and small.

In politics and families, at work or on the town

I know it is up to me – I must pay close attention

On my honor, I will try. To be more on the ball.


Cheesy, yes. But desperate times call for desperate measures!

I’m starting to feel like a broken record (just a wee bit). Another week – another liar caught like a deer in headlights. Honesty is apparently overrated these days – as just about everyone seems caught up in believing their own hype, crafting their own spin, or otherwise trying to pull the wool over someone else’s eyes.

Look, dishonesty is not a character trait that only afflicts politicians and used car salesmen. Unless you live in a cave, you have likely had contact with other human beings – which means that you have, at some point, been lied to. In fact, research has shown that the average person lies up to six times per day.

And, more importantly, we’ve all lied. Sometimes, it’s a little white lie – like telling your kid that OF COURSE there is such a thing as the Easter Bunny. Other times, it’s a doozy … you’re cheating on your spouse, or embezzling from work, or telling your constituents that your Twitter was hacked – it couldn’t possibly have been you sending those naughty pics.

And yet, despite the many times we can (or will) get caught in a bold-faced lie – most of us don’t learn our lesson the first time. Or the 100th.

Chances are, we haven’t heard the last of Anthony Weiner’s escapades – we aren’t getting off that easy. There’s a reason the saying “skeletons in the closet” involves a plural. Multiple bones. Once the first little pinky finger bone comes out – the rest of the body of bones naturally comes with it.

I hate to be such a Debbie Downer all the time (no offense to anyone ACTUALLY named Debbie Downer) – but, it’s awfully hard not to speak out when the dishonesty of some of our most glamorized, glorified public servants becomes abundantly clear.

I was asked to provide insight on Good Morning America this week – naturally, I was addressing this latest round of hanky panky. And inquiring minds want to know: When the words coming out are total BS, what do our lips do to betray our inner thoughts?

Here are a few significant mouth movements to watch for when confronting an alleged liar:

  1. When an individual is CONFIDENT and TRUTHFUL – their lips will be relaxed and full, not pursed or tight.
  2. During moments of high anxiety (which lying can cause – at least for the subconscious) the lips will disappear. You will notice the lips getting thin, tight and almost appearing to fold into the mouth. This is an indicator of stress and anxiety – both are unconscious reactions to telling a lie.
  3. When we are being dishonest, our lips are more likely to remain closed during MORE of a conversation than if we were honest (see #1). This is due to the fact that the limbic part of our brain is sending the message to our mouths to stay closed – to keep anything from entering the body. This is a fighting mechanism – the body is in survival mode, assessing the dangers and reacting accordingly.

Of course, I must remind you that body language means nothing if we do not examine the verbal signals and baseline information along with the examination of an individual’s body language. This is the only way in which we can reasonably infer intent – otherwise we are merely assuming.

And you know what they say about people that assume (if you don’t know – go ask a 5th grader) ...

I invite you spend a few minutes watching the GMA segment for additional insight into why the mouth is yet another window to a person’s soul. Do it! I don’t want to have to bust out another mnemonic device next week!

Blog written by Janine Driver
Janine Driver is the New York Times best-selling authorof YOU SAY MORE THAN YOU THINK: A 7-Day Plan on Using the New Body...