- Excessive blinking, licking lips, and deep breaths most common signs of lying
- From Prince Andrew to Boris Johnson and Kim K; expert analyses their body language that speaks volumes
- Quiz allows you to put your lie-spotting knowledge to the test
Reckon you can spot a liar? Aside from words, there are many facial expressions and body language cues that could indicate someone might be lying to you.
Below, free poker site Replay Poker, along with the help of leading body language expert Mike Carter, has revealed the ten tell-tale signs of lying, as well as analysing infamous celebrity interviews to see exactly where our most ‘popular’ celebs have been lying with their body language.
So, how do you spot a liar?
Learning how to read body language can be quite advantageous when spotting a liar – with the ten most noticeable signs of lying through body language being:
- Looking to the right – as this is their imagination and not memory
- Excessive blinking
- Licking lips or touching lips
- Taking deep breaths before speaking
- Repeating the question before answering
- Hand tensing to a claw when speaking
- Blocking off people with our hand and foot movements
- Breaking eye contact
- Hiding hands behind our backs as hand gestures reveal emotion
- Failing to provide specific details
Celebrity TV interviews debunked; what their body language really showed us?
- Boris Johnson, interview with Tom Bradly talking about Brexit, 2016
During the interview, Boris is seen wiping his mouth frequently. Mike says: “People tend to touch this area when they’re uncomfortable – because it reassures them. Liars often bring the hand to the mouth just before they speak as a way of covering up the words they’re about to say.’’
Boris often glances away to his right in this video, And as Mike explains: “When we look away to the right, we’re accessing our imagination rather than recalling our memory. Therefore, liars often glance up to the right as they’re looking for ways to embellish their claims by accessing their imagination.’’
- Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, interview with Architectural Digest talking about their Home Design (pre-divorce), 2020
In the last interview before their shocking break-up, there was a lot to be said about Kim and Kanye’s body language. According to Mike: “When couples are close – emotionally, physically and mentally – they subconsciously mirror and echo each other’s body language.’’ In this video there’s no mirroring between Kim and Kanye, perhaps suggesting bad times were to come.”
More specifically, Mike explains: “The couple’s breathing gives away the tension between them. When people are most comfortable, they tend to breathe deeply and rhythmically – but both Kim and Kayne’s breathing is very shallow. In a way, this shows that the couple is not close and in sync with one another at this time.”
- Kim Kardashian talking about Kanye (pre-divorce)
What is probably most interesting is the way Kim is sitting as Mike explains “she’s very upright; her hands are forced down onto her lap and she’s crossed her legs”. He continues by stating that “to me, she’s suggesting that there’s no physical intimacy between her and Kayne as she’s deliberately covering up that part of her body. It’s an unconscious gesture which says: we don’t go there anymore”.
Furthermore, Mike states that “after turning her head away, at 0.16 she actually glances even further away to her right – and we know all about that now. So, the concept of Kanye being responsible for turning her hair grey is all rather ‘imaginary’”.
- Harry and Meghan – Oprah interview sneak peek, 2021
When discussing his mother, Harry licks his lips which Mike suggests is “a gesture confirming that the memory of what happened to his mother causes him genuine distress…licking his lips gives him a moment of comfort”. Furthermore, Mike continues by saying “immediately after licking his lips, Harry glances to his left – it’s only for a split second. We do this to access our memory. So, Harry is very genuinely accessing the memory of his mother’s trauma, but he does it very quickly because he doesn’t want to dwell on this traumatic memory”.
Additionally, during the interview we see Meghan and Harry are holding hands. Mike notes that “Meghan’s hand is clearly on top of Harry’s suggesting that she is in control. At the same time, Meghan’s left hand is on her stomach suggesting that protecting her unborn child is of huge importance to both of them”.
- Harry with James Corden on the Late Late Show, 2021
The Royals are generally taught not to show emotion and they use their body language to support this. According to Mike, “Prince Phillip and Prince Charles often hide their hands behind their back because excessive hand movements reveal emotion and that’s not the done thing for a Royal! For a brief moment, Harry slips back into what he’s learnt and what he’s been taught but reverts back to using his hands very freely to express himself. This is, in part, due to the fact the James Corden is such a relaxed ‘interviewer’. So, Harry comes across as a relaxed, normal, cool, emotionally open guy”.
However, when Meghan’s on the phone everything changes, and Harry folds his arms. Mike states that “folding the arms is generally misunderstood. It’s not necessarily a defensive action, it’s one of self-comfort (not dis-similar to licking or touching the lips) which we resort to when we’re feeling uncomfortable. It’s quite literally the act of giving ourselves a hug. It’s interesting that Harry appears to be less comfortable (when other people are around) in Meghan’s presence (even when she’s on the phone) and that’s probably because she is the more controlling of the two in their relationship”.
- Prince Andrew, interview with the BBC talking about Jeffrey Epstein, 2019
We all know this interview seemed a little off, but when delving into body language it becomes incredibly interesting. When discussing his relationship with Jeffrey Epstein, Prince Andrew is blinking a lot, which as Mike says: “He’s literally ‘not seeing’ what the interviewer is talking about and it gives away how uncomfortable he feels. He is also raising the sole of his shoe while the interviewer is questioning him in an attempt to block off the questions.” This suggests he isn’t comfortable answering them and wants the firing to stop.
- Ellen DeGeneres, monologue at her show talking about toxic workplace allegations, 2020
The Ellen scandal dominated news cycles and the talk show host addressed the allegations at her show. When your entire personality is built on being nice, Ellen tries to maintain her likeability. She is seen constantly shifting from foot to foot which suggests that she’s trivialising the accusations against her. Mike adds: ‘’There are also a lot of open hand gestures which suggest warmth and compassion, but very few palm down gestures which would suggest gravitas and honesty.’’ What is also noticeable is that Ellen constantly glances to the right during her monologue, which gives away her dishonesty.
Commenting on the research, Thibault Richard-Folian, General Manager at Replay Poker says: “People communicate mostly with nonverbal cues and learning how to decode deceptive body language can be proven quite advantageous when understanding what people are really saying to us. And if you can spot a liar, you may be able to call someone’s bluff too, by looking out for their poker face or even their poker hands.
“We conducted this research to help our players interpret their opponent’s body language and nonverbal communication signs, sharpen their lie-spotting skills, and make it difficult for others at the table to read them in return. If our players can subconsciously notice their own body language and make conscious effort to change it, it could very much help them when playing the game.”
Now you have the knowledge, reckon you can spot the liar? Head across to our site to take part in our quiz-style video to find out: https://www.replaypoker.com/blog/lies-throughout-history/
About Replay Poker:
Replay Poker is a leading free-to-play poker site founded in 2005. Replay Poker’s mission is to offer the best free 15 poker room and community experience to all passionate poker players in a fair, friendly and competitive environment. In years, Replay has dealt more than 700 million hands of poker online to players from all over the world.