Deception Tip 29 - How To Detect Deception - A Guide To Deception - Author Spencer Coffman

Deception Tip 29:

When accused, a liar will often take a step backward, and sometimes raise their hands, as if to ward off the accusation.


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Podcast Transcript

Hello and welcome to the deception tips podcast where you will learn amazing cues to detect deceit that will help you read people like never before. I’m your host Spencer Coffman, let’s get started.

Welcome to episode 29 of the deception tips podcast. This is where you will learn how to detect deceit so that you will never be taken advantage of again. You will be able to spot lies and detect deception wherever you go.

Last time we talked about something that is pretty cool when detecting not only deception but also all kinds of emotion, we talked about micro-expressions. 

Now, these are very, very difficult to see, however, with training, you can see them, and they will be the most reliable source or the most reliable indicator of human emotion or of body language. 

It is a precursor to body language in that these are displayed first. They come on the face and less than a split second. It is really like a quarter of a second. Micro-expressions are tiny muscle movements that happen on the face.

Now, I really hope that you have taken a little bit of a look at some of the research behind micro-expressions and the facial action coding system, Paul Ekman and all he is done, it’s really excellent. 

If you want some information, I wrote an article years ago when I did that study that I have been talking about on and off about smiles. In there, I went over the facial action coding system and what it is. So, you could check that out that is on my website under research articles and you’ll see it there.

Micro-expressions are something that, if you are getting into this, if you like body language and I mean if you’re still listening, if you’ve been with me from the beginning, from episode number one, we’ve gone through 28 different deception tips, as of now, if you’ve been with me ever since then you probably are into detecting deception. 

Also, if you’re listening to my other podcast, the body talk podcast, which is about all kinds of body language, then now we know you’re really into it. So, I highly encourage you to take a look at micro-expressions, to get into learning more about micro-expressions, and really kind of start to study them and watch them.

You’re going to have to spend some money because you’re going to have to pay for some of these tools and these training things. Make sure though that when you are buying them, you’re buying the correct training and you’re spending it on legitimate stuff because there are a lot of crappy training programs out there. Like little things that you can get that maybe cost 10 bucks for 20 bucks or this or that and they’re just junk. So, if you’re going to waste your money and it probably isn’t going to teach you the right thing.

However, if you get something from someone who is credible, then you’ll know you’re going to get training that is worthwhile, you’re going to pay for it, but it’s going to be worthwhile. And if you have any questions, just let me know and I’ll help you out as well. That is that on micro-expressions, we really want to learn them if we can. 

Now, if you’re struggling with body language and behavior, maybe micro-expressions are better for you, otherwise, it’s up to you but micro-expressions are definitely something that if you are into body language, you will want to learn at one point or another.

Today, we are going to discuss another sign of deception that is really a cool behavior and it’s even something that can happen in deception and in things that aren’t deception. It can happen in any form of situation where someone is going to feel like they are threatened or like they are about to be discovered or found out like someone is coming at them, almost. You’ll see with this type of behavior that when I say someone is coming at them, it is the appropriate response.

What would you do if I kind of took a step forward and came after you? What are you going to do? You’re going to take a step back and that is what we are going to talk about today. This is the sign of stepping backward or step backward. So, basically when someone is accused or when someone is approached, they are going to ward off that accusation and they’re going to flee from that situation.

So, here it is, deception tip number 29. When accused, a liar will often take a step backward and sometimes raise their hands as if to ward off the accusation. Here it is again, when accused, a liar will often take a step backward and sometimes raise their hands as if to ward off the accusation.

Now, this is important, obviously, the liar has to be standing because if they’re sitting down in a chair or at a table, they’re not going to take that step backward. However, you may still see the second portion of this sign in a seated liar. They may raise their hands or they may even modify the behavior and lean backward as if to get away from that accusation.

Now, the point in this is that when a liar is accused, something is coming at them, even if a person is not coming at them, that accusation is coming at them. It’s like the old saying of you can hurl an insult at someone where you’re not really hurling anything at them, you’re not throwing something at them, there’s no physical object that’s hurled at that person. No, it is words and insults coming at someone and people can feel that.

When you talk to someone, they say that sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt. Well, sticks and stones could be hurled at someone and they may break your bones, and words we say hurl insults. 

So, that means words, they’re felt, it is an emotional thing that’s coming at someone. So, even though that saying of words will never hurt me, that’s really an untrue saying because words are going to be felt by everybody because our emotions are in all of us and we can all feel that.

So, if words or accusations or anything come upon someone and they aren’t okay with it or they don’t like that, they are going toward that off by either stepping backward, leaning backward, they may raise their hands up in defense as if to say, hey stop and block that and prevent it from coming at them. 

There are all kinds of things that can happen. What’s so cool about this sign is that if the liar takes a step back and sometimes raises their hands, we’ve got the beginning of a pattern and a cluster of behaviors. We are going to continue talking about patterns clusters and all of the different signs that can come into play here with this particular deception tip coming up right after this.

People are always being fooled by lies because they don’t know how to spot them. When more people like the deception tips Facebook page, fewer people will be fooled by lies.

This type of behavior is more of a defensive behavior, it is almost like when we talk about folding the arms way back in number one. This is a defensive posture in that someone is stepping back. That means they are trying to get away they’re fleeing and when we are attacked sometimes, we flee. 

Now, other times we fight but it’s a fight or flight, so stepping backward is more of a flight response. In addition, for people who raise up their hands, what is the typical raising up your hands? That is a profession of innocence.

When you are in a police situation hands up or when someone has a gun hand up, why? Because I’m showing you that my hands are empty, I’m not a threat, I’m innocent. I’m warding off any accusation or any suspicion that could potentially fall upon me, so that’s why you raise your hands. 

So, when in this behavior when they step backward, they’re fleeing the situation, they’re getting away from that accusation. In addition, by raising their hands they say hey, I’m innocent, I have nothing to say here. This is a profession of I’m innocent, I’m running away from the situation, do not accuse me of this, it is a flight.

Now, that doesn’t necessarily mean though that this person is innocent because this behavior could be done to show innocence or to profess innocence. A liar is accused of something, they’ll take a step back, raise their hands, and ward it off. 

That doesn’t mean that they are a truth-teller, and this was a natural response to that because most of the time if someone is telling the truth, they’re just going to say their story again or they’re going to remain in the situation.

Whereas liars, they’re going to flee a situation like this unconsciously because we know it’s not really normal for someone in a conversation when they’re talking about something to ward it off and step back and kind of get away from it. 

No, most people are going to deal with this situation so that it can be resolved instead of fleeing the situation saying, oh, no not my problem, it’s not me because most of the time take a look at general body language.

In any situation like at work when you guys are trying to problem-solve or come up with something or there’s a task that needs to be done. Usually, there’s one person who’s like alright, this is what we need to do, we’ve got to get this, this and this, okay, you handle this part, you handle this part. 

People are in the situation and some are agreeable and then other people try to take charge, you know what I’m saying, there’s always a little bit of a dynamic of complication there. But then there’s always someone in the group that says, ‘oh no, that’s not me, that’s not my responsibility or that’s not part of my job description, you handle that.’

What do they do when they say those words? Usually, their hands go up, not up in the air like a hands-up situation on a roller coaster or something like that, no. You guys all may have your hands, you’re talking to over the table type of a deal and their hands may turn upwards and they may spread out, they’ll fan out. 

So, if they have typically their hands almost like a crab claw where their thumb is touching the index finger and the middle finger, kind of like a crab, then they’re talking and when they say oh, no, that’s not my responsibility or that’s not in my job description, their hands almost rotate 90 degrees and fan out.

So, like the Palms are parallel with the table, they’re face down and their hands are spread out. They put their hands up because when we would put our hands up, our hands are going to be spread, our fingers will be spread, and our hands will be up. 

They did that behavior without raising their hands. So, that’s something to watch for because these behaviors can happen in a modified way. So, they put their hands up, but they didn’t physically raise their hands. They did the same behavior by opening them up saying no, no, this isn’t my responsibility and they warded off that responsibility.

So, a liar does the same thing when they are trying to ward off that accusation as in, I didn’t do that, but you know that in both situations here, this is part of a job description. It doesn’t matter if this is in your job description, we’re handling a problem, and these are the assignments that we all need to take, and we all need to do, and this is what needs to happen. And that person is “oh no, that’s not my responsibility” or “oh no, you can handle that, and I’ll do this”, they’re warding off that responsibility or that situation.

Now, they could, of course, do that but they don’t want to and then the same way a liar, they are warding off that accusation, even though they could be guilty. Of course, they may be innocent, and this could be just something that they are used to doing. 

That is why it is essential to look for the patterns and the clusters of behavior that go with this. If someone is stepping backward, they are raising their hands, they are blocking off that, typically, afterward then they may even fold their arms in that posture.

If you continue pressing them, they may start to take on a different stature of curling up, punching over whatever the case may be. There will always be more than one sign, and this is a cluster in a pattern of behavior that will develop very quickly. 

So, it’s almost like you’ll be watching them, you’ll say “hey, why did you do XYZ?” “Oh, no, that wasn’t me” boom hands up, step back, fold arms, look down, all of the stuff will happen right away, it’s like a checklist. You can be like, oh my goodness bing, bing, bing, bing, bing, they did it all in three seconds. It’ll happen so quickly so that is why you need to always be paying attention.

Now, this isn’t going to happen so quickly like a micro-expression that we talked about last time, but the micro-expressions are going to come before all of this. So, if this entire cluster of behaviors is only a few seconds, stepping back, raising the hands, fanning them out, warding off the behaviors, folding their arms, hunching the shoulders, leaning forward, all of that stuff.

Crouching down is going to happen in a matter of a few seconds that micro-expression happened prior to all of this in a fraction of a second. So, you really do need to be paying attention when you accuse or when you question or when you do any of this kind of stuff because these behaviors are not going to be like neon lights and they’re not going to be in slow motion for you, they are going to be fast.

This is why when you are really trying to get to the bottom of a situation or when something is super important, it is best to plan your questions out and have someone else ask them so that you, who are trained in body language, can observe without having to think about how to phrase the questions or how to speak the questions.

You have someone else ask and you just watch because when you are watching, you will be much more focused on the body language rather than on speaking. I mean, yeah, you can do it you can ask the questions and watch for body language too but you can be more focused if you are not speaking, not asking questions because then you are using less of your brain at that time so you have more to pay attention to what is really important.

So, I want to thank you for listening to the deception tips podcast. Share it with your friends, subscribe to the feed, check out the deception tips videos, take a look at the blog, and also the books that I have available, and as always, tune in next week for a new deception tip.

Video Transcript

Hey guys, my name is Spencer Coffman, thank you for watching the deception tips videos. They’re all about teaching you how to read people and detect deception so that you will be able to tell if someone is lying to you.

Today, we are going to talk about a cool sign that is actually part of a cluster of behaviors. It is really two signs in one, so if you see this you know that there’s something going on and it will often be paired with other signs of deception that are very obvious.

This is a very obvious sign, it is one that is very easy to see, and it is something that even if you’re struggling with all of these other signs that we’ve been talking about or if you’re having a hard time with half of them, this one you will get. You will be able to understand it because it is very, very outward and open and it’s easy for you to watch and pay attention to.

So, here it is, this is deception tip number 29 when accused, a liar will often take a step backward and sometimes raise their hands as if to ward off the accusation. So, as I said, this is more of a two-part sign, sometimes you’ll only see one part, sometimes you’ll only see the other. So, typically the first part would be taking a step backward, they’re warding off the accusation, they’re stepping away from it, they’re fleeing from it.

Someone is accusing them of something or is suggesting that they did something or maybe that they are associated with something. It doesn’t even have to be an accusation, it could say like were you there or were you with so-and-so and this could sometimes even be incorporated with distancing languages such as that person or that one, we’ve talked about that before. Now, this is stepping back and the reason that they are stepping backward is the situation is let’s just say right here, there is a bubble that’s around each person and then there is that bubble that’s around the whole group.

So, if they’re in a group and someone suggests that this person was with someone or did something or is associated with something, they’re stepping back to get away from that bubble or that group that they’re in. They’re fleeing the situation, fleeing that accusation because that accusation in their mind is within the confines of this group. So, if they step out of that bubble or out of that group now, they’re getting away from it, they’re saying no, no I’m not associated with that, I am not involved.

Usually, you’ll see this with verbal stuff as well, they may even vocally say no, no that wasn’t me and if they put their hands up, that’s another one because typically when do people raise their hands? We don’t really raise our hands at all, the only time we raise our hands is in celebration like yes, type of a thing or in fear or saying I didn’t do it, it wasn’t me.

So, for example, when the police come into a building or when someone pulls a gun on someone, hands automatically go up it is a natural response it is saying I don’t have anything, I am not a threat, it wasn’t me, I didn’t do it. So, if they step backward, they’re now retreating from the situation and they raise their hands, they’re saying I didn’t do it, it wasn’t me, not me.

Now, although that could be true because if it’s an instant response like if someone has a gun, the first instinct is to pull up your hands and step away. You want to get away from that gun and you put your hands up as a profession of innocence. So, it could be happening in a truthful scenario if the circumstances present themselves to be that way. However, if it’s just an accusation, there’s really no reason for them to raise their hands and flee the situation.

So, now it could be something that you need to watch for some deception in there as well because you have to signs already, they’ve stepped backward, and they’ve raised their hands, so that is the beginning of a pattern and a cluster. If they’ve said something vocally, that could be a third sign, if they’re going toward the exit, that could be a fourth sign, so this is an easy one for you to see because it is the makings of a pattern or a cluster of behaviors. So, watch out for that and then watch for further signs of deception.

If this is your first time watching these videos, I would love to have you subscribe to the channel on YouTube, it’s all about detecting deception. Feel free to leave any comments on there and any questions that you would have. Also, if you’d like some more information, we’ve got bookspodcastsblog posts, all available on, that are dedicated to teaching you exactly what every body is saying.

Until next time.

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