13. They speak in short fragments
Again, telling a lie requires creating an entire scenario in one’s mind and relating it using a script, so liars will shy away from anything that could expose them, such as longer speech. As Dr. Whitbourne states, “The longer, more complete, and spelled out a story is, the more likely it is to be true.” The use of short fragments indicates a fear of detection and an anxiety that the liar will expose themselves as the conversation goes on; the less they say, the less likely they are to be caught (or so they believe). According to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, most people use 10 to 15 words per sentence, so frequent responses that are significantly less in number could be a sign of lying. An effective way to determine this is to establish a person’s baseline mean length of utterance, which is their total number of words divided by their total number of sentences in a normal conversation; a decrease in an individual’s MLU can signify deception.