It is traditionally assumed that deception detection occurs simultaneously to the telling of a lie. Meaning, as people speak, lie detectors were able to pick up on nonverbal and verbal cues to ‘read’ people. Most of the research to date suggests that we can’t use any body language cue, or collection of cues in a comprehensive manner to read liars, but this might just be a limitation or flaw in the design of the studies. In 2002 research by Hee Sun Park working out of the University of California in Santa Barbara it was found that success in real-world lie detection happens gradually, over time and not on one chance encounter. Her research found that the most often reported method of disseminating lies included third party information, confessions and physical evidence, none of which the studies thus far have provided. Therefore, with respect to how people really read lies, the scientific investigations to date, haven’t provided people with information necessary to accurately detect lies.

Reading lies in real life is an active comparison from information we know for certain, and information told to us. No doubt, nonverbal language can provide clues to us as a full package, but it doesn’t permit us to ascertain conclusive evidence. We should therefore use untrustworthy or nervous body language as motivation to spark further investigation.