The Truth About Lying - The Pinocchio Response and other Myths Unveiled

• When we lie, our nose becomes enlarged as in the popular fictional tale.

TRUE: when we lie, our body releases a particular hormone in response to stress and this triggers our nasal tissues to swell. This is known as the Pinocchio Response as the nose becomes slightly enlarged due to the increased blood pressure.

• As in a dictionary, each and every gesture has a meaning associated. If you learn the meanings individually, you will be able to read a person like a book.

FALSE: gestures come and must be interpreted in clusters. An isolated gesture does not reveal a unique message and it may be misinterpreted.

• When people lie, they do not look you in the eye.

FALSE: Though this may be true for some cases, some liars will look you straight in the eye when trying to deceive you. It is important to focus on the intensity of the action and to compare this to their usual behavior.

• Deceivers tend to cover their mouths with their hand or touch their faces as a subconscious instruction from the brain to prevent them from lying.

TRUE: Our brain has a natural tendency to tell the truth. Lying involves a decision where we inhibit a truthful response and produce a deceitful one. Our frontal lobe puts out a lot more effort to disguise a lie than to tell the truth.

• A fake smile is held longer than a genuine smile.

TRUE: real smiles may last from one to five seconds. Fake smiles may last up to 20 seconds. They also disappear abruptly whereas the real ones do this gradually. Fake smiles are also less likely to be symmetrical.

• It is easier to spot signs of deceptive behavior in our lower part of the body than in the upper part.

TRUE: Movements of the feet, toes and legs are more likely to escape the mental control of the brain. The further from the head, the harder for the brain to act the lie.

Any other myth that you would like unveiled? Please leave your question or comment below. Thank you.


Kuhnke, Elizabeth (2007). Body Language For Dummies
Givens, David B. (2002). Dictionary of Gestures, Signs & Body Language Cues


Non verbal language represents 90% of what we communicate

This statistic was confirmed by the reknown psichologist Albert Mehrabian.

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