Skip to main content

Derren Brown - Reading Body Language - Tricks of the Mind

NLP Eye Diagram


Learning To Read People

Derren Brown is an out and out genius and has studied and learnt pyschology throughout, which has enabled him to perform the most amazing tricks, performances and shows. In his book Tricks of the Mind, Derren Brown gives an insight into reading body language - a useful tool for many aspects of life, and makes for great reading. I will share some of what i got from reading the book.

Eye Movement - How do you know if someone is lieing?

The most common belief with regards to liars is that they will avoid eye contact, or will in fact struggle to keep eye contact as they are lieing to you. This usually sounds perfectly normal and understandable but is 90% of the time, the complete wrong judgement! The reason for this is because people, just like you, are aware that if you lose eye contact when lieing then people will think you are lieing. Following? So therefore if you was to tell a lie, you would subconsciously be thinking - I must keep eye contact with this person because i do not want to give away my lie. Therefore this leads to abnormal behaviour. When you have a conversation with someone, take a good look at them as they are speaking, and pay attention. You will notice that their eyes will tend to flicker all over the place, and most people will not keep direct eye contact for you for very long lengths of time. This is therefore one sign that can help you to come to a decision about whether someone is lieing or not. You can even test this out on people - ask them to tell you a truth and then ask them to tell you a lie, and tell them not to give you any clues and try to guess which was the lie.

Eye Movement and Subconcious Body Language

Probably the second biggest misconception would be that people think they are able to read people by looking at their facial expressions. Again this is similar to the above. People can be pretty damn good at hiding facial expressions, and we practise all day long subconsciously, in one way or another. Body language on the other hand gives much more away.

Peoples speech changes

You should look out for different tones and pitches in peoples voices when you are talking to them. By changing the pitch higher or lower the person could be doing so to disguise a lie. Also people will slow down when they are lieing because they have more thoughts to process, as it is not coming naturally to them. Look out for that! This can also be seen in blinking. As more information is processed in the brain, the more you should find yourself blinking. if you can start to pick up these small indications then you are well on your way.

Scroll to Continue

Hands can be a total giveaway.

Derren refers to some example of how the hands can help you to really see what it is that someone is thinking. One extract from the book reads "Imagine someone is talking about a problem at work, and he says "I don't know what the source of the problem is", and as he says this his hands point inwards towards himself or outwards towards someone else. This can be a subconcious telling that he thinks he himself is the problem or perhaps someone else that his hands are pointed towards as he says it. Therefore it's quite scary, if you learn body language well enough you will almost be able to read someones thoughts - maybe more than you want to at times!

Feet and Legs

People tend to pay less attention to lower half of their body when they are in social contact with others. Therefore this can make them more vulnerable to give away signs through their feet and legs. It is worth looking out for foot tapping and crossing of the legs, which can show discomfort. By someone having their toes and hands slightly pointed towards you this would indicate that this person is probably quite open to you and comfortable in your company. On the other hand if someone crosses their legs, arms, taps their feet away from you, covers their body with their arms is it then likely that this person is not at comfort with you.


I have to say that this does not apply to everybody, but you may find that people who you the phrase "Honestly, it's the truth" on a regular basis are perhaps more likely to be the liars. This is because should someone be 100% confident in what they are saying, they would not normally feel the need to insist that they are telling the truth. Look out for this but it does not apply to everyone.

I would recommend his books to anyone. They are absolutely amazing...

Related Articles