What Does Pointing Your Finger at Someone Mean? Can Someone Point Their Finger and Lie?

I did a FOX News TV interview with Neil Cavuto concerning finger pointing and lie detection. Here is the transcipt of the TV interview. The actual video is on my website http://www.pattiwood.net/ and is also up on my YouTube channel. http://youtube.com/user/bodylanguageexpert
QUESTION -What does finger pointing mean –
It’s a really potent gesture of power, a symbolic weapon. When you make a fist and thrust your finger you’re symbolically shooting someone.

If I say, "take this and put it over there," it means something different than take this and put it over there or take this and put it over there. Threes an implied threat. I’ll kill you if you don’t move that.

QUESTION-When you see someone pointing their finger does it mean they are lying. Absolutely not, the average Joe would never do that. In fact, when I teach law enforcement I say it can be a sign someone’s telling the truth because they are passionately defending themselves. (It is very hard for the average person to lie and point their finger in sync with what they are saying.)

But certain ego types do use it. I see it used by powerful men who are use to getting their way and lied successfully in the past. They use it when they are cornered to defend themselves by counter attack. A different version is used by speakers to show conviction of thought. It’s typically not women as there is a sexual component as well.

QUESTION What about Rafael Palmeiro in front of congress in March 2005
Detecting deception in a scripted speech is tricky because you loose the critical spontaneity, but I think he is lying because his timing is off. When you are telling the truth you feel that in your heart, you show it with your gesture then you say it. Feel - Show - Say. He said,"I never," as he slowly raised his finger making it look staged.

Bill Clinton showed four clear deception cues:
1. "I never had" rather than the more natural contraction I didn’t. Liars like to emphasize the not or never
2. His finger is crooked rather than straight showing a lack of his own conviction
3. He is pointing one way and looking another a lack of congruence in his thoughts and actions
4. Depersonalization saying "she" then self correcting to say Monica's name.

George Bush
He uses the political coached version of the gesture to emphasize his conviction. Notice the point is up to heaven rather than out and the cadence with the words.

His point goes down and his volume fades out also showing he is lying and lacks conviction in his words.
He doesn’t use it on the, “I’m not a crook” statement he uses it to say "he never made money in office."

Gary Condit
Scary body language! I counted over 40 deception cues in his famous Connie Chung interview. He shows his anger by not only shooting Connie Chung but slicing her in a sword gesture and symbolically strangling her.

Patti Wood, MA, Certified Speaking Professional - The Body Language Expert. For more body language insights go to her website at http://pattiwood.net/. Also check out the body language quiz on her YouTube Channel at http://youtube.com/user/bodylanguageexpert.