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Five common gestures
The following five common gestures that suggest a person is lying are not infallible, but they should put you on guard.
- Mouth-Guard. This is one the few adult gestures that is as obvious as a child's gestures. The hand covers the mouth, and the thumb is pressed against the cheek. It may only be a few fingers over the mouth or it could be the entire fist. It seems that the brain is subconsciously trying to hide the lie (speak no evil). Some people try to disguise the mouth-guard by giving a fake cough. If a person covers his or her mouth while you are talking, it may indicate that he or she thinks you are lying.
- Nose-Touch. In essence, the nose-touch is a sophisticated, disguised version of the mouth-guard. It may be several light rubs below the nose or one quick, almost imperceptible touch. One explanation for the movements it that, while the hand is moving to guard the mouth, an attempt is made to be less obvious and the hand pulls away from the mouth to the nose. If the person has a real itch, he or she will normally deliberately rub or scratch the nose as opposed to a light stroke. As with the mouth-guard, the nose-touch may be used by a person who thinks you are lying.
- Eye-Rub. This gesture attempts to block the lie that a person sees (see no evil), or to avoid having to look at the face of the person to which the person is lying. Men usually rub their eyes vigorously or, if the lie is a big one, they will often look away. Women usually use a small, gentle rubbing motion just below the eye. Liars do not like to look you in the eyes when they lie, they will look away at the last moment before they lie or stare past you.
- Neck-Scratch. The index finger of the writing hand scratches just below the ear lobe; usually about five small scratches. It is probably a gesture of doubt or uncertainty, characteristic of a person who thinks, "I'm not sure I agree." It usually contradicts the verbal language, such as when a person says, "I understand how you feel" while neck scratching.
- Ear-Rub. This is the adult version of the child's hands-over-both-ears gesture (hear no evil). It includes rubbing the back of the ear, pulling on the ear lobe, or bending the ear forward over the ear canal. This last gesture signals that the person as heard enough.