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When a child lies, she might bring her hand up quickly and slap her mouth closed, but when an adult lies, she holds back and might only lightly touch the side of the mouth.

When a child lies, she might bring her hand up quickly and slap her mouth closed, but when an adult lies, she holds back and might only lightly touch the side of the mouth.

Mouth covering is another way to reduce the pain of telling a lie. In this case, it is so as to “speak no evil.” Small children perform a full cover and even slap their mouths when they say something they shouldn’t. Grown adults will sometimes cup their hands to their mouths like children in effort to “jam the words back in their mouths” but usually use more subtle gestures such as talking through their hand or placing a finger softly over their lips. Talking with ones hand covering the mouth “talking through the hand” or resting the hand around the mouth by wrapping the fingers around the top, are significant clues indicating insecurity.

Subconsciously, hand-to-mouth gestures leads people to distrust others, and see them as less honest overall. The gesture can be done with a fist, a finger, or a ‘shushing’ motion with the index finger vertically placed over the lips. Other times the subconscious mind is so powerful that the hand comes up and slaps the mouth, but to cover this ‘tell’ up, a fake cough is added.

'Talking through the mouth' is seen as dishonest.

‘Talking through the mouth’ is seen as dishonest.