The FBI's Art of Telling Liars: It's Just a Question of Who's Being Insincere

Have you ever been in a situation where you felt that the other person was lying but had no way of knowing for sure? If yes, then it’s not just you, but many of us have been in such a situation.

That is in normal life, not to mention professions such as police, special agents … that require constant interrogation and must determine what is a lie. The question is: how to know if a person is lying or telling the truth?

At the FBI, they have an extremely simple method, and are still applied by many investigative agencies around the world today. What is that? Let’s find out together.

This method is a real term in psychology, called “Volatile Conundrum” (roughly translated: Conundrum) , to test how honest a person is.

According to Dr. Jack Shafer, a former FBI behavior analyst, this method is very simple to apply. Its requirement is that you ask a question to which you already know the answer, but the proposition in the question must be a false statement. If the respondent agrees, they are a liar and vice versa.

The FBI's Art of Telling Liars: It's Just a Question of Who's Being Insincere
The FBI uses the conundrum method to test how honest a person is. (Illustration).

The downside of this method is that you can’t overdo it, as the respondent will soon realize you have a hidden plot and have reactions that overcome it.

This method can be applied on the same object, but with the frequency of spacing, usually when you feel that this person’s story is a bit “climbed” too much. When using, maintain a calm posture and tone of voice, because the most important thing is to make the respondent not realize they are being examined.

For example, you meet a guy who always brags that he was invited to the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. You might ask: is the chocolate wedding cake delicious there (even though it’s actually made with vanilla). If that guy raves about the chocolate cake, then you know who he is.

An important point when using this method is that you always have to prepare your way back, in case the other person is telling the truth. Because at this point, you will be in a situation where you become a liar, or worse, the other person feels that you do not trust them, leading to the breakdown of the relationship.

In the same example above, if the guy said he didn’t know there was a chocolate cake there, you would have to slap your own forehead and admit the error: “Oh, I thought it was chocolate cake. I’m sorry”, and then turn the conversation in another direction. .

There is a paradox that in life, when you find out that someone is lying, it is unlikely that you should expose them in a crowded place. The reason is because doing so is likely to cause the relationship of both to break down, and at the same time, it is easy to receive quite negative reactions from the other.

Instead, you can bring up the question in a private conversation, or tell another person about your concerns. It is best to avoid conflict as much as possible, because life is already painful enough.