Skip to content

10 Indicators That Signal Truthfulness

Indicators That Signal Truthfulness

People who are truthful can always be easily differentiated from people who are not. You just need to look out for a few distinctive behaviors that signal truthfulness.

Knowing if someone is telling the truth is as important as knowing when someone is lying. Truthful indicators 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.

10 Indicators That Signal Truthfulness

1. Quoted dialogue

Truthful people use direct quotes from the people they are describing.

Related: 10 Most Popular Psychological Persuasion Theories To Influence People

2. Included emotions

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

3. Unexpected events or circumstances

Fabricated stories are less likely to include unexpected events or unusual circumstances that arise during the retelling of events.

4. Corrected errors

When truthful people make mistakes, they spontaneously make corrections.

10 Indicators That Signal Truthfulness

5. Time

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

Related: Socrates’ Triple Filter Test: Truth, Goodness and Usefulness

6. Lessons learned

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

7. Longer descriptions

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

8. 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.

9. Nonsequiturs

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

Related: 10 Powerful Confucius Quotes That Will Change Your Perspective On Life

10. Shoulder shrug/palms up

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

Written By Jack Schafer Ph.D.
Originally Appeared On Psychology Today
Indicators That Signal Truthfulness pin
10 Indicators That Signal Truthfulness

Jack Schafer

John R. “Jack” Schafer, Ph.D. is a professor at Western Illinois University in the Law Enforcement and Justice Administration (LEJA) Department. He is a retired FBI Special Agent. He served as a behavioral analyst assigned to the FBI's National Security Behavioral Analysis Program. He authored a book titled “Psychological Narrative Analysis: A Professional Method to Detect Deception in Written and Oral Communications.” He also co-authored a book titled “Advanced Interviewing Techniques: Proven strategies for Law Enforcement, Military, and Security Personnel.” He has published numerous articles on a wide range of topics including the psychopathology of hate, ethics in law enforcement, and detecting deception. Dr. Schafer earned his Ph.D. in psychology at Fielding Graduate University, Santa Barbara, California. Dr. Schafer owns his own consulting company and lectures and consults in the United States and abroad. Dr. Schafer is the author of The Like Switch: An Ex-FBI Agent's Guide to Influencing, Attracting, and Winning People Over.View Author posts