Body Language of the Eyes – A Comprehensive Field Guide

Let’s dive again into the exciting world of body language, but this time I’d like to turn your attention to the eyes.

Understanding the fine art of non-verbal communication requires a special kind of skill and also a lot of focus. It might be challenging in the beginning, but at the end of the day you’ll be able to detect fraudsters and KNOW when someone is lying.

On the other hand, (on a more positive note) you will be able to reach business and career success because you’ll understand what people want and how to give it to them.

Should I mention the benefit of improved communication with co-workers, friends and family members? Some skills in life are priceless.

Body Language Mastery – Between Science and the Everyday World

There is a lot of conflicting information about eye movements as they pertain to lying. What follows is information the FBI interrogators are trained to look for as well as consistencies I’ve seen over my career working with clients.

Some of what I’ve experienced and learned in the trenches seems to conflict with scientific studies. The details presented here are based on what I’ve found that works in the everyday world.

Body Language Mastery – First Take a Baseline Assessment

While there are many different interpretations on eye patterns, and what they tell about a person’s state of mind, this is the basic principle that helps in any context:

The eye movement itself is not enough to give you a clear picture; you will need to look out for a “significant shift in behavior.” You’re looking for the overall behavioral shift, not just the eye pattern itself.

Here’s an example:

Some people have a habit of avoiding eye contact, others keep rolling their eyes (a.k.a shifty-eyed), and this doesn’t have to be alarming.

But, a shift from normal, still eyes to shifty, or shifty to still, can be classified as a significant shift in behavior.

The most important thing to do before trying to figure out someone is to take a baseline assessment. Ask them a simple question, such as “What is your name?” or “What time is it?” and see how they react.

Then when you push for the tough questions, focus on their eyes and how they react, and you’ll be able to compare that to their baseline behavior.

They say the eyes are the “window to the soul.” And, reading people’s eye patterns can tell you when and where they’re searching for information in their mind before they answer any of your questions.

So, let’s dive into what some of these eye patterns can mean:

Body Language Mastery – Eye Patterns and Their Meaning

Eye patterns have a high degree of accuracy but can’t be solely depended upon with every individual.

The descriptions below are for a right-handed person. Left-handers can present in the opposite manner but don’t always follow that switched pattern.

Remember; use this as a guideline, not an absolute rule for everyone.

Looking to the Right

If someone looks to your right as they’re putting together their answer to your questions, often they are REMEMBERING. If they look up, they’re making a picture of it in their mind before the words come out of their mouths. Similarly, if they look more level to the right, they may be remembering how something sounded.

Looking Down and to the Right

When people look down and to your right just before they answer, they are often going through the criteria needed for the answer. They’ll often answer with facts, figures, process, and what makes sense.

Those in technical jobs like engineers, lawyers, and doctors get their answers from this area frequently.

Looking to the Left

When people look to your left just before they answer your question, they are often constructing or fabricating their answer.

If they look up, they’re making a picture of what they wish would have happened or what something could be like, if they look more level (towards their ear), they can be constructing what something would have sounded like.

If they look down and to your left, they are often re-experiencing their feelings about the situation. The feelings are their true feelings.

Defocused Eyes

When you see someone appear to defocus their eyes as they’re telling their story, they often are going into a brain space of constructing the image of what they’re saying instead of remembering it. That means they’re making up what they’re saying.

The key in lie detection is to notice when people suddenly shift their eye patterns as they give answers during a line of questioning.

For example, when Dr. Phil interviewed Burke Ramsey on his involvement in the death of his sister, Jon Benet, he suddenly shifted from looking down and to the viewer’s right just before each answer about what happened that evening to looking down and to the viewer’s left when asked point blank “Did you kill Jon Benet?” In this case, that’s a big    red flag.

Putting it all together:

By looking at eye patterns you can often decipher what someone’s internal thought pattern is before they speak to answer a question.  When there’s a significant shift in their pattern, it can be a clue to indicate deception.  Can you make a decision on deception based on one movement of the eyes?  Absolutely not.  Always remember to compare people to themselves and their own baseline, not an eye pattern chart.  That’s the only time you’ve got a shot to detect deception.

Do you wish to dig deeper into the Body Language world? Give us a call to schedule Traci’s online Fraud Spotting training.

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