Snow is the only white thing to expect at Christmas time, new research says little white lies are in abundance over the festive period.
A survey released by bronchostop cough syrup found that 100% of people confessed that they lie during Christmas. What’s more, a third of people said that the festive period makes them lie even more than usual.
So what exactly are we lying to our friends and family about?
- Six in 10 of us have lied about loving a gift
- Half have lied about Santa being real
- A third have re-gifted a present
- Twice as many women as men admitted to re-gifting a present… but double the amount of men have lied about being hungover at work
- Three in 10 have lied about enjoying someone’s cooking
- One in 10 have lied to our partner to avoid spending time with his or her family
Why do we lie?
We’re not all total Scrooges, though – the majority of people say they only lie to avoid hurting people’s feelings, and 12% say it’s simply to keep up the spirit of Christmas.
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But how can you tell if Aunty Joan really likes that woolly scarf? To shed some light on festive fibbing, bronchostop teamed up with world-renowned body language and deception detection expert, Darren Stanton.
“Everyone lies every day, and in ten minutes of conversation, the average person will tell at least tell three white lies. This new data reveals people are even more prone to porkies at Christmas – but also that we can rarely recognise the signs of when someone is lying to us,” says Darren.
“Nine in 10 people don’t recognise coughing as a sign of lying, but if a person is coughing this holiday season it’s often a sign of more than just seasonal sniffles. There is a process called detection apprehension, which means the more a person wants to keep a lie in, the more signals the body gives off. When you tell a lie, you are in a state of heightened anxiety, which causes the body’s saliva to dry up, producing a dry throat – and this makes you cough.”
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How to tell if a person is lying
So how can you tell if a person is lying to you? Darren Stanton gives his top seven tips…
- Eye contact
Eye contact is key. Normal eye contact lasts three to five seconds, but eye contact for love or hate averages at seven seconds. So if someone has no reason to love or hate you and they’re staring for a long time, something is up.
- Stress nerves
People’s noses go very pale or red when they lie – often called the Pinocchio effect. There’s also a nerve in the back of the neck that people often rub when stressed. Of course, sweating is always a classic, tell-tale sign.
If someone suddenly starts coughing when they haven’t coughed throughout the conversation, this could be a red flag. A simple way to test this is to change the topic that they aren’t happy with and talk about something else. Bring up the same topic again later on and if a cough appears again – hey presto, it’s a fib.
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- Changes in pitch to someone’s voice
People’s voices get higher when they’re lying. Sometimes voices will crack and the person will not even realise it. It’s an indicator that some companies use to catch fraudsters. Typically now when you speak to some companies, your voice is being monitored by fraud protection software. If the software detects stress or tension in the voice, it is often referred to a separate department for investigation!
- Making insecure gestures
People will distance themselves from the conversation if they are lying and also make some out of character gestures when they’re lying. For example, people might step back or lick their lips if they aren’t feeling confident about the statement that they just made.
- Changes in body movement and posture
If someone is quite animated and then they suddenly slow down and shrink in, then that could be an indicator that potentially, something isn’t right. It could just be that they’re very nervous because they’ve been placed into an unfamiliar environment. However, it does give off a good sign that there may be more to what they’re saying.
- Stutters and pauses – the classic tell-tale sign
If you accuse someone of doing something then they might reply: “Err – no”, which isn’t natural to everyday conversation. So listen out for people hesitating, using unusual language or stuttering their words.