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INTERVIEWS

Eyes don't mean lies

During WZ EU training courses we often get people who will ask, “Hey is it true that if the subject’s eyes go up and to the left, that means they’re telling the truth, and if they go to the right, they have to be lying?”  Unfortunately, that’s how Hollywood introduced you to eye accessing, but that’s not how eye movement and eye accessing works.

There’s great value in understanding what the up, down, left, and right eye movements might mean to you in the context of an interview.  To associate a particular eye motion to mean truth, while another means deception, is not accurate at all.  What’s very important in understanding eye accessing behaviours is to follow the first rule of behaviour observation; you must understand normal behaviour patterns associated with your subject by establishing a behavioural norm by asking very simple biographical questions.

During the early stages of the interview, as you establish a behaviour norm, you can observe a great deal of both verbal and non-verbal behaviours, including eye movements.  This helps you understand what certain eye movements might mean based on the timing and direction of those movements.  Later, during the interview it is very important to ask thought-provoking questions. By asking thought-provoking questions, you might observe similar eye movement from your subject that become very important to you in evaluating and understanding how they’re formulating their responses to the questions that you are asking.

One thing you can’t confuse though, is associating eye movements as being related to the truth or deception. After all, there’s no single behaviour symptom you associate with being either truth or deception.

by Chris Norris, CFI
Wicklander-Zulawski Europe

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