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Lie to Me II: 7 Key Steps to Detecting a Lie

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Microexpressions shown by Tim Roth in his role as Cal Lightman in Lie to Me.

In my last post, I talked about the work of the famed professor Paul Ekman. Ekman's research is aimed at decoding emotions through reading rapid universal microexpressions on peoples' faces.

Ekman (played by Tim Roth in the hit series Lie to Me) and his colleagues and students had made it their life's work to study the meanings behind our specific facial expressions and how they correspond with certain emotions. If you can decode those expressions you'll understand the emotion behind them. If you understand the emotions, you are one step closer to knowing if the person on the other side is lying or telling the truth.

Here are six key areas to focus on in order to read a person's emotions and ultimately detect a lie.

1. Study their microexpressions. Microexpressions are easy to read and several resources like Ekman's own site teach you how to interpret them in just a few hours.

2. Body language is essential. Pay special attention to their feet. Joe Navaro, a former FBI interrogator, mentioned in his book What Every Body Knows that the first thing they looked at as interrogators was the feet. Feet pointing away could mean the person wants to go whereas feet rested comfortably may mean they want to stay.

3. Listen carefully. What they're saying and how they're saying it do not always match. It's easy to say something different than what you mean, but often how we say it gives away our true meaning.

4. Investigate, but go with your gut. Your first impression before your logical mind steps in and muddies up the waters is valuable. Always note how you felt at the first glance of the situation. Even if you don't go with that feeling, it can be invaluable data.

5. Get a second opinion. Logic is your friend. Often times when we're immersed in a situation, we're blinded to the obvious facts. The opinion of someone you trust who isn't involved in the deal can be a critical decision point.

6. Recognize your limitations. A good friend of mine who is a poker instructor teaches his students to never play when their energy is depleted and they are tired. Similarly, your powers of observation are at their weakest when you're tired. Recognize when you're tired and opt to continue at another time if you can.

7. Stay sharp and on point. Exercise, eat right and supplement your diet with dietary supplements that can help support memory, focus and concentration.

You can read more about how to keep your brain sharp in my book The Brain That Changes Everything: The Ultimate Guide For Accelerating Your Brain.