Deception Tip 47 - How To Detect Deception - A Guide To Deception - Author Spencer Coffman

Deception Tip 47:

Legs may be one of the best indicators of nonverbal behavior. When rooting out a liar, keep an eye on the legs.


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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 deception tip 47, thank you for your continued listening to the deception tips podcast. These tips are very important, and my goal is to give you as much information as I can so that you will be able to tell it if someone is lying to you. You will be able to know how to read people, how to detect deception, and how to spot a liar, these things are very important in life, especially today.

Everybody out there is trying to weasel their way in and take advantage of somebody else and if you are not aware of these signs, then you will most likely be taken advantage of. Sadly, the truth is that there are two types of people out there, those that take advantage of others and those that get taken advantage of, that is what it is. So, if you can learn how to read people and how to see through their lies and deceit then there will be a third type of people.

Those that are safe from being taken advantage of and that are better than taking advantage of other people. That is the type of people we need to become, so keep listening, and pay attention to these signs of deception. They are important whether you are in person or whether you are over the phone.

Either way, you can be able to understand and know whether someone is being a little bit deceptive or lying to you, trying to take advantage of you. Whether you’re buying something or selling something, you need to be able to know how these people are reacting to what you’re doing in order to improve your interactions with other people.

Last time, we talked about a sign of deception that you could see in person or you could hear over the phone, we didn’t talk about that, but this is one perfect example that you could. We talked about how a liar may puff up his or her cheeks and then slowly exhale through their pursed lips. What is pursed-lip? Well, it means they’re a little bit together like duck lips or something like that and then they exhale slowly to pacify that tension.

Breathing exercises are something that everyone uses, it’s a great meditation technique, an excellent relaxation technique and they’re very popular for stress relief. As you know, when people lie, they are under a tremendous amount of stress and tension. Why? Because, when they’re sitting there telling this lie, they’re worried about the consequence of someone finding out the truth.

Whatever the consequence is of what they’re covering up or what they’re lying about, that has consequences. Not only that, they’re worried about whether or not someone is going to believe their life. 

In addition, they’re worried about the consequences of being found out. So, if they get caught not only will they have to deal with the consequences of whatever they’re lying about but also new consequences of lying about it.

In addition, there is that tremendous battle between the conscious and the unconscious that is going on inside their mind. So, there is huge internal strife going back and forth and all of this stuff is like a boiling pot of stress and tension. So, liars are under a lot of stress and tension, therefore, they may use these breathing exercises to help relieve some of that stress and tension.

Now, it says in the tip that we talked about last week that they do it to pacify their tension, what does pacify mean? It’s like a baby, they get a pacifier and it pacifies their desire to drink from the bottle or whatever. In lie detection, pacification gestures are pacifying the desire to do something else. So, it’s like they need to release that stress and tension so they will breathe to help pacify the tension.

Rather than beating on a punching bag or whatever they would really like to do, they will do something else to help relieve that stress and that tension, this is what breathing is. So, if you hear that, it’s very audible, you can hear them do that breathing or you’ll see it in person with their lips, and then obviously you’ll see their mouths and how they inhale and exhale and go slowly through their pursed lips.

So, that is what that was last week, if you are unfamiliar with that I encourage you to go back and listen to it because it is a great sign to listen for and it is something that a lot of people are going to use. There are so many different breathing patterns when it comes to detecting deception.

This week, we are going to talk about another tip, this one is going to be more focused on the body and different signs, it is specifically going to target the legs. Remember, the legs are one of the most expressive parts of the body, so when you are detecting deception, keep an eye on the legs. The reason that this is one of the most expressive parts of the body is that it is often hidden.

People are usually sitting behind a desk, they may have their legs under a table, etc., so a lot of people really can’t see the legs. As a result, the conscious mind tells the unconscious to go ahead, and leak all the behavior you want on the legs because I know people can’t see it. So, if you pay attention to the legs, you might have some good luck detecting deception.

So, here it is, this is deception tip number 47. Legs may be one of the best indicators of nonverbal behavior. When rooting out a liar, keep an eye on the legs. Here it is again, deception tip 47. Legs may be one of the best indicators of nonverbal behavior. When rooting out a liar, keep an eye on the legs. Again, people think that their legs are often hidden.

How many times when you’re in an interrogation, if you are ever in an interrogation, or when you’re questioning somebody, even parents with their kids if there’s a serious matter, where do they go? 

Come on, let’s sit down at the kitchen table. Boom, the legs are under the table. Think about kids in a principal’s office, where are they sitting? The principal is behind the desk, the child in a chair in front, with no visibility of the legs.

Job interviews, usually across a table, at a desk, how about things like police interrogations? If you’ve never been in one, you see them in the movies, what’s happening? There’s a steel table in the interrogation room, there’s a convict or a prisoner, the suspect is on one side of the table and the police are standing or sitting across the table on the other side, with no visibility of the legs.

So, they’re missing an entire area of the body that is probably one of the most expressive areas of the body. If we go by volume, half your body is above the waist half is below, so by reason, there’s 50% of the body being hidden. By volume and by expression, there are obviously more things that can happen with the hands and the face and everything than on the legs.

There are so many more muscles in the face and everything like that. The point is, you’re going to be missing a lot if you cannot see the legs, so we’re going to talk a lot more about this and about the importance of the legs coming up right after this.

Spencer Coffman has been studying body language since 2010, he’s certified at the expert level in subtle expression and micro-expression training. Download his books on

Welcome back once again, we are talking about deception tip 47, which is the legs. It is important to keep an eye on legs because they are one of the most expressive areas of the body. Why? Well, when people are lying the conscious and the unconscious are fighting back and forth. The conscious wants to get away with the lie and the unconscious wants the truth to come out.

The unconscious is unconscious, so it leaks the truth through nonverbal behaviors or subtle verbal slips or things in the voice, breathing, speech, etc. 

You’ve learned about a number of these, so we’re going to keep learning more about them, they are essentially unconscious behaviors. Now, through this, you are trying to make these behaviors conscious so that you’ll be able to consciously see them and recognize them.

The fact that they are unconscious means that the conscious can overrule some of them so when they are battling it out some of these behaviors are leaked on the legs. The conscious knows that in general conversation the legs are often hidden, so it says to the unconscious, “Go ahead, leak all you want on the legs because I know people aren’t going to see that”, therefore, a lot of behavior is displayed on the legs.

Now, we’ve gone over some signs on the legs in the past, we have different deception tips such as episode number 30, which was, to bounce both legs. That’s when people may be bouncing their legs up and down like jackhammers. It might happen on one leg, it might be both legs, usually, it is another form of pacification gesture, they’re releasing stress and anxiety.

We’ve also had different signs like in episode number 22, locked ankles, where they may lock their ankles in stress or tension, it could also be similar to folding the arms. We also have different things like when they curl up or they take up less space. We just briefly mention that it wasn’t an episode in itself, but it was mentioned in a couple of different episodes where liars tend to shrink up a little bit.

There are a lot of things that can happen on the legs and we’re not even going to cover a lot of them, which means there’s so much that could happen down there that you should really pay attention to what is going on. In the future, we’re going to have even more behaviors that we will cover so stay tuned for more. The point is, that the legs are very expressive because it is a general conversation that they aren’t seen.

Therefore, what can you do to make them seen? Well, if you are ever going to question someone if you’re a parent and you’re a child and you have some kind of a thing that you need to be addressed. Where were you last night, why weren’t you home for your curfew, whatever the case maybe? 

Did you eat the cookies from the cookie jar? Instead of sitting them down across from you at the kitchen table, take that advantage and sit next to each other on the couch or in the living room in opposite chairs, something where you can see their entire body.

If you are in law enforcement or in an interview and you need to ask questions of an applicant, or of a suspect, use that situation to your advantage instead of to their advantage. Sit across from each other in a chair, sit something like that where you can see each other. Look at the typical talk shows, if you watch any of these shows like it used to be Regis and Kelly or Ellen, any of those types of things.

Look at. Dr. Phil, how do they sit? Everybody is sitting almost side-by-side but a little bit facing each other. In Dr. Phil, it’s usually the two people or the one case of people and then the other case of people and then dr. Phil is in there like a half-circle or a horseshoe and they’re all visible, there’s nothing blocking anybody. Why? So, they can all see each other and their body language.

This isn’t done for them, usually, in that case, it’s probably done for Dr. Phil so he can see it all, then in Ellen, those are so that people can see everybody. Why? It is because the whole body is expressive. 

So, take that situation and whenever you have to interview an applicant or you are talking to a suspect or your child or anybody, use those open communication, you need visible lines so that you will be able to see their feet, their legs, everything.

Remember, we’ve discussed a few different signs on the legs, we’ve talked about locking ankles, we talked about curling up, we talked about bouncing them, stress relief. There are a lot of different things that can happen on the legs. We will be talking about more of them in the future, so stay tuned for them. The main thing is that you need to remember that the legs are very expressive.

The reason is that most people try to hide things elsewhere on the body because it is more visible, it is something that a lot of people are going to continue to do, they’re going to hide them. Remember in episode 37, Mask the Face, when we talk about how liars try to hide expressions on the face more than the rest of the body and what was the reason?

The reason was that most facial expression happens on the face. Well, obviously, by definition it’s facial expression, but beyond that when in conversation, where do we look? We tend to look each other in the eye, we have to be polite, and we look at each other’s faces in conversation. 

As a result, since that’s where we spend the majority of the conversation focusing our attention, we mask the face more than the other areas of the body because we know that they may not notice the other areas of the body.

This is why people are so worked up about their face, they want to make sure that their skin looks good, and women put makeup on so that their face looks good. They may not spend that much time on the other areas of the body, but they spend a lot of time on their face, and their hair because they know that is where the majority of the conversation is focused, is looking at their face.

This is why they hide more stuff on the face, this is also why the legs may be more expressive, they are more expressive because people let behaviors slip down there. The conscious allows these behaviors to leak out there and it consciously tries to hide the behaviors on the face. 

So, when speaking with other people, try to remember that and try to put yourself in situations where you will be able to see the rest of the body, especially the legs.

I want to thank you for listening to this week’s episode of the deception tips podcast. Hopefully, you’ll share it with your friends, subscribe to the feed, check out the deception tips videos and the deception tips blog and take a look at the books I have available 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 talking about a really good deception tip that is going to give you a better idea of where to look when you’re watching for deception.

This is about watching a specific area of the body because more expressions will happen in certain areas of the body than the others. To give you a hint, it’s not the face, so even though the face is considered one of the most expressive parts of the body, it is also one of the most hidden parts of the body.

People know that when they talk to each other or when they’re looking at each other they are told from the time they’re little to the time they get older to maintain eye contact, look someone in the eye when I’m speaking to you. Why aren’t you looking at my face? Why don’t you look at me when I speak to you? All of those questions are instilled in us from a little kid to an adult.

So, we are trained to watch someone’s face, we’re trained to look them in the eye, this is why when we lie, we automatically mask the face more than the rest of the body. So, that’s what we’re doing and essentially, you need to look at other areas of the body to find this deception or this leakage that the unconscious is trying so hard to push out.

So, here it is, deception tip number 47. Legs may be one of the best indicators of nonverbal behavior. When routing out a liar, keep an eye on the legs. If you remember way back in deception tip number 30, it was called bounce the legs where liars may bounce their legs. They may bounce one leg or if they’re really excited or stress or tense you may see both legs going up and down like a double bass moving.

They’re going to bounce those legs to release that stress, tension, and anxiety to let it all go. Another tip that we talked about, this was episode number 37, it was called mask the face where we discussed how the face is masked more than the rest of the body for that simple fact of people are trained to watch the face.

They’re trained to look each other in the eye, therefore, when they lie the conscious knows “Alright, they’re going to be watching my face, therefore, if I lie, I need to mask the face.” The unconscious wants to push out the nonverbal signs of deception, the conscious says, “Alright, I’ll accept it, I’ll allow it on the rest of the body, not on the face because they know that the face is being watched.”

Therefore, watch the legs because when you’re watching the legs, you’re going to see a lot of things going on down there, whether it’s the bouncing of the legs like we mentioned in number 30 or its other behaviors. We’ve talked a lot about the ankles, about crossing the legs, remember it’s like crossing the arms. We have several tips coming up on the legs that are really going to show you more of the signs that happen there.

For now, keep it in mind that it is important to watch other areas of the body than the face especially the legs. Think about it, when you’re sitting at a job interview or you’re sitting at a meeting or anything like that, you’re sitting, chances are you’re sitting at a table. Where are your legs? Usually, they’re under the table, therefore they’re not really that visible.

So, the conscious and unconscious, remember they have that battle going on, the conscious wants to lie, the unconscious wants the truth. So, if the conscious is going to allow leakage to happen where do you think it will go? It’s going to go to the legs because it’s under the table, it’s not seen, it’s not visible.

People aren’t really paying attention to it because they can’t see them, so it’s going to allow all kinds of leakage there. Therefore, if you are in a position where you can notice that or see them, maybe you’re sitting at a distance, maybe you’re standing far back so you can have that visual under the table a little bit.

You can see their legs bouncing or moving, you’ll be able to see those different signs of deception and add them into different patterns and clusters that you notice in the face or speech or their hands or their voice, anything like that. So, remember to watch the legs and stay tuned for more tips that are coming about the legs and the different signs that you will see there.

So, if this is your first time watching these videos, I’d love to have you subscribe to the channel on YouTube, feel free to comment with any questions you may have. Also, if you’d like more information, there are booksblog postspodcasts all available on that are dedicated to teaching you exactly what every body is saying.

Until next time.

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