From policiticans who are ‘economical with the truth’ to celebrities who share their picture-perfect lives on Instagram, we all know that public figures are not entirely transparent in how they present themselves.
Now a body language expert has revealed the behaviours to look out for that may reveal that a person is not being totally honest – from masking their true feelings about a situation to outright lying.
Mike Carter says that while there is no set formula for how someone will present themselves, there are signs that give away a lack of honesty – including hand and foot gestures, as well as subtle movements including excessive blinking, changes to breathe, and licking lips before speaking.
To illustrate his point, he’s decoded interviews with several public figures and celebrities where their body language shows that at best they’re putting on a front and not feeling entirely comfortable, while some may be actively trying to cover up the truth.
1. Looking to the right – because this is their imagination and not memory
Body language expert Mike Carter has revealed the key signs to look out for if you’re concerned someone is being economical with the truth, including looking to the right to access imagination (pictured, Mike said Boris Johnson’s eye movements during a 2016 interview with Tom Bradly talking about Brexit, indicated a ‘discomfort’)
Mike revealed that if someone’s eyes are frequently darting to the right, it could mean they’re lying to you.
Mike explained: ‘When we look away to the right, we’re accessing our imagination rather than recalling our memory.
‘Therefore, liars often glance up to the right as they’re looking for ways to embellish their claims by accessing their imagination.’
The body language expert pointed to a 2016 interview between Tom Bradby and Boris Johnson in which the politician’s eye and hand movements indicated he felt uncomfortable as an example.
The Vote Leave campaign notoriously plastered a bus with a disputed claim that the UK sends £350million per week to Brussels that could be used to fund health services after Brexit.
At the time, Boris claimed that after Britain had ‘settled its accounts’ with the EU, Britain would be around £350million a week better off.
He wrote in The Telegraph: ‘It would be a fine thing, as many of us have pointed out, if a lot of that money went on the NHS, provided we use that cash injection to modernise and make the most of new technology.’
During the interview, which took place during the run-up to the Brexit referendum aboard the Brexit bus, Tom repeatedly pressed the Prime Minister on the £350m a week claim.
Mike said Boris’ movements during the interview indicated a ‘discomfort’ while his rapid eye movements to the right showed ‘attempts to access his imagination.’
The £350million a week figure was debunked during the referendum campaign by Sir Andrew Dilnot, the head of the UK statistics watchdog.
And since then, many on the Leave side – including ex Ukip leader Nigel Farage – have also accepted the policy is not deliverable.
2. Blocking off people with our hand and foot movements
The body language expert revealed those who are lying may feel uncomfortable under questioning, and tend to use their body to ‘block’ themselves off (pictured, Prince Andrew during his Newsnight interview with Emily Maitlis)
The body language expert revealed those who are lying may feel uncomfortable under questioning, and tend to use their body to ‘block’ themselves off.
Mike used Prince Andrew’s 2019 Newsnight interview with Emily Maitlis, which is widely regarded as a ‘car crash’ that eventually forced Prince Andrew to step back from public life, as an example.
During the 2019 Newsnight interview, Prince Andrew admitted he let the Queen and the Royal Family down by becoming involved with a paedophile billionaire.
In the ‘make or break’ TV interview about the scandal, he said he regretted going to stay with Jeffrey Epstein in New York after the financier’s release from prison on child sex offences.
He repeatedly denied claims he had sex with one of the women, Virginia Roberts, when she was 17 – but was then accused of lying by Miss Roberts.
The interview led to renewed calls for Andrew to be interviewed by the FBI about his friendship with disgraced financier Epstein, who was found dead in his prison cell.
Mike said Prince Andrew’s body language ‘suggested he isn’t comfortable with the questions being asked and wanted the firing to stop.’
He revealed: ‘He is raising the sole of his shoe while the interviewer is questioning him in an attempt to block off the questions.
Meanwhile Mike also revealed that an individual is blinking a lot can also indicate they are ‘shutting off’ to the truth.
He pointed to Prince Andrew blinking a lot during the Newsnight interview, explaining: ‘He’s literally ‘not seeing’ what the other person is talking about and it gives away how uncomfortable he feels.’
3. Taking deep breaths before speaking
Mike suggested breathing can often be a giveaway when an individual is lying, and said Kim Kardashian and Kanye West’s behaviour in an interview shortly before their divorce indicated a ‘tension’ between them
Mike suggested breathing can often be a giveaway that an individual is not comfortable in a situation.
He revealed that when people are close to one another – emotionally, physically and mentally – they ‘subconsciously mirror and echo each other’s body language.’
However an individual’s breathing may ‘give away tension’.
He pointed to Kim Kardashian and Kanye West’s final interview as a couple before announcing their plan to divorce in 2020 as an example.
The couple put on a united front as they welcomed Architectural Digest into their home in Calabasas after underoing years of renovation.
Kim and her husband took part in a light-hearted Q&A with each other, and Kanye even spoke about their future life together, saying: ‘Kids are the inspiration for all of our designs moving forward.’
However, Mike suggested that the couple were covering up their marital problems.
He explained: ‘The couple’s breathing gives away the tension between them.
When people are most comfortable, they tend to breathe deeply and rhythmically – but both Kim and Kayne’s breathing is very shallow.
‘In a way, this shows that the couple is not close and in sync with one another at this time.’
7. Hand tensing to a claw when speaking
The body language expert revealed some might adopt self protective gestures while feeling uncomfortable, including hand tensing and arm movements
The body language expert revealed some might adopt self protective gestures while feeling uncomfortable, including hand tensing and arm movements.
During Prince Harry’s recent appearance on The Late Late Show with James Corden, the royal spoke about his decision to step away from the royal family with candor and appeared relaxed throughout.
In one extraordinary moment Harry raps the theme tune to The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air outside the mansion where it was filmed.
The other signs someone is not being honest with you
– Repeating the question before answering
– Breaking eye contact
– Failing to provide specific details
However Mike said that when Corden video called Meghan, the royal appeared more ‘uncomfortable’.
He revealed: ‘Folding the arms is generally misunderstood. It’s not necessarily a defensive action, it’s one of self-comfort (not dis-similar to licking or touching the lips) which we resort to when we’re feeling uncomfortable.
‘It’s quite literally the act of giving ourselves a hug. It’s interesting that Harry appears to be less comfortable, when other people are around, in Meghan’s presence, even when she’s on the phone.
‘That’s probably because she is the more controlling of the two in their relationship.’
Elsewhere during the interview, Mike said Prince Harry appeared to ‘hide his hands behind his back’ because ‘hand gestures can reveal emotion.’
He said that on the whole, the royal had taken on a ‘typical royal stance’ by concealing his hands during the interview.
He revealed: ‘Prince Charles often hides his hands behind his back because excessive hand movements reveal emotion and that’s not the done thing for a Royal.
‘For a brief moment, Harry slips back into what he’s learnt and what he’s been taught but reverts back to using his hands very freely to express himself.
‘This is, in part, due to the fact the James Corden is such a relaxed ‘interviewer’. So, Harry comes across as a relaxed, normal, cool, emotionally open guy”.’
9. Licking lips or touching lips
Mike said people may lick or touch their lips more when they feel uncomfortable, using the Duke’s behaviour in his recent interview with Oprah as an example (pictured, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle during their interview with Oprah Winfrey last month)
Mike said people often feel more conscious of their mouth when they feel uncomfortable or unsettled.
He revealed people may be more inclined to lick their lips or touch their mouth if they’re not confident in what they’re saying.
The body language expert explained: ‘People tend to touch this area when they’re uncomfortable – because it reassures them.
‘Liars often bring the hand to the mouth just before they speak as a way of covering up the words they’re about to say.’
He pointed to Prince Harry’s behaviour during his and Meghan’s interview with Oprah Winfrey as an example of this type of sign.
During the broadcast, Prince Harry hinted at the extent of the alleged rift between he and Prince William, claiming that their relationship was now ‘space,’ but added he hoped time would be a healer.
He went on to claim he was ‘on different paths’ to William and spoke about his brother was ‘trapped’ in the Royal Family.
Harry also said he felt ‘very let down’ by his father Prince Charles, accusing him of refusing to take his calls and and then ‘cut him off’ financially when they emigrated.
He said: ‘My father and brother. They’re both trapped’ and added that his mother Diana would be ‘angry and sad’ that he felt he had to leave the royal family, but ‘she saw it coming’.
When discussing his mother, Harry licks his lips which Mike suggested is ‘a gesture confirming that the memory of what happened to his mother causes him genuine distress…licking his lips gives him a moment of comfort’.