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10 Indicators that Signal Truthfulness

Truthful indicators are often overlooked

Maksym Yemelyanov/123RF
Source: Maksym Yemelyanov/123RF

Knowing if someone is telling the truth is as important as knowing when someone is lying. Truthful indicia are often overshadowed by the more popular cues that signal deception. Most people focus more on deception indicators. Truthful indicators can provide valuable insight into the veracity of others. The following 10 behaviors signal truthfulness:

Quoted dialogue – Truthful people use direct quotes from the people they are describing.

Included emotions – Truthful people often include thoughts and emotions when they describe people or events.

Unexpected events or circumstance – Fabricated stories are less likely to included unexpected events or unusual circumstances that arise during the retelling of events.

Corrected errors – When truthful people make mistakes, they spontaneously make corrections.

Time – Truthful people often omit specific times and locations when describing events.

Lessons learned – Truthful people include similar events they experienced in the past and incorporate lessons learned from those experiences into their description of events.

Longer descriptions – Truthful stories are longer, more complex, and include specific details.

First person/Simple past tense – Using first-person pronouns coupled with simple past tense verbs suggests the person is committed to the activity they are describing, and they retrieved the information from their memory.

Nonsequiturs – Truthful people include details and events that are not pertinent to the description of events.

Shoulder shrug/palms up – Truthful people display an even shoulder shrug combined with a palms-up gesture.