Eye color and perception by others
In a world where sexual affairs sell reality television and scandal dominates the evening news, an honest face can be a boon—and knowing whom to trust is a skill just as valuable. But does the color of their eyes tell the entire story? Probably not, but it might very well be a key factor in how we perceive them, according to a new study published in PLoS One. Researchers asked 238 college students to rate the trustworthiness of 80 faces, some with brown eyes and others with blue ones. In general, subjects considered brown-eyed faces to be the most trustworthy—although further experimentation revealed that narrower faces, larger eyes, and broader mouths (traits that tend to accompany brown eyes) were also important in establishing a perception of trust.
And the story doesn’t end there: Blue eyes tend to be considered more attractive, the study authors note, which may compensate for a perceived lack of trusworthiness. More from Prevention: When To Trust Your Gut Of course, neither the color of someone’s eyes nor the shape of his face can actually determine whether or not he’s to be trusted.
Fortunately, there are a series of factors worth considering, says body language expert Lillian Glass, author of The Body Language Advantage and Body Language of a Liar. “You have to open your eyes and ears and know the signals,” Glass says. “Your instincts are very reliable. If you have doubts, you’re probably right.”
When someone’s lying, their breathing tends to pick up and their chest may heave slightly. This can also lead to voice changes. “Their voice may die off at the end of a sentence,” Glass explains. “They’re not taking in enough breath, so in essence, they’re petering out because of their lie.”
If you shake hands, you may notice sweaty palms. Their skin may also flush or turn blotchy, and they might display a sweaty upper lip, chin, or forehead.
You may notice hand movements, finger tapping, or foot shuffling. They may brush nonexistent lint off their shoulder, play with their hair, or tug at their ear.
Strange as it sounds, people who lie sometimes get a case of “itchy-scratchies,” Glass says.
When they’re lying, some people tend to blink or squint excessively. Others do the opposite, and gaze directly at you but don’t blink at all. Finally, other fibbers will avoid any eye contact—they’ll look at chairs and ceilings and lamps instead of at your face.
Trust your gut: If their eye behavior seems amiss, they might be bluffing.