Are you a good liar? Most people think that they are, but in reality there
are big differences in how well we can pull the wool over the eyes of others.
There is a very simple test that can help determine your ability to lie. Using
the first finger of your dominant hand, draw a capital letter Q on your
Some people draw the letter Q in such a way that they themselves can read it.
That is, they place the tail of the Q on the right-hand side of their forehead.
Other people draw the letter in a way that can be read by someone facing them,
with the tail of the Q on the left side of their forehead. This quick test
provides a rough measure of a concept known as "self-monitoring". High
self-monitors tend to draw the letter Q in a way in which it could be seen by
someone facing them. Low self-monitors tend to draw the letter Q in a way in
which it could be read by themselves.
High self-monitors tend to be concerned with how other people see them. They
are happy being the centre of attention, can easily adapt their behaviour to
suit the situation in which they find themselves, and are skilled at
manipulating the way in which others see them. As a result, they tend to be good
at lying. In contrast, low self-monitors come across as being the "same person"
in different situations. Their behaviour is guided more by their inner feelings
and values, and they are less aware of their impact on those around them. They
also tend to lie less in life, and so not be so skilled at
Long time readers will not be surprised to learn that I find it difficult to see things from other people’s perspective and thus, consistent with the theory, I am a lousy liar!