The art and science of human lie detection is a craft that must be honed. Accurately reading body language is also a tremendous skill that needs practice and mental attention.

In my body language and human lie detection courses I recommend students practice their skills in fun and helpful ways.

Here are a few of my favorite shows, websites and links to help you practice.

1. Would I Lie to You?

In this British show celebrity guests reveal amazing stories about themselves, some of which are true and some of which are false. The goal of the game is to fool the panel of judges into mistaking truth for lies.

Challenge: See if you can guess who is telling the lie?

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2. Pick the Perp

best TV shows to practice lie detection

This website has pictures of criminals and asks you to match the criminal to the correct crime. This is a very interesting (and very addictive) experience because you really have to rely on your gut.

Challenge: How accurate are your guessing abilities? Can you match the criminal with the crime?

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3. To Tell the Truth

In this old American show, three people pretend to be a special person–but only one of the people is telling the truth. Panelists ask the three people all kinds of questions to try and suss out the truth.

Challenge: Can you tell who the real person is?

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4. Friend or Foe

In this show, three teams of two strangers attempt to persuade their partner into sharing their accumulated winnings rather than stealing it for themselves. 

Challenge: Can you guess who will share and who will steal? Can you see any lying tells during the persuasion time?

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5. Truth Teller

Truth Teller is a software created by the Washington Post that analyses political speeches, commentary and media pieces for lies. As you watch a video on Truth Teller a rolling transcript plays next to the video highlighting sentences as they are said. When Truth Teller spots a false claim it highlights the quote and displays a link to the fact-check article. They use the Fact Checker blog, Politifact and FactCheck.org. You can watch political speeches and know they are based in truth–or lies. There are some hesitations I have with this website, but overall it is very helpful.

Challenge: As the lies show in the transcript, can you spot any corresponding tells?

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6. Survivor

Survivor is a fascinating look into human behavior and intense emotions that come into play. During the show you will see how intense nerves, physical challenges and manipulation work in group settings.

Challenge: Can you guess who will be turned against? Who will vote for who?

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7. The Bachelorette and The Bachelor

I suspect some of this show might be staged or scripted, but you definitely see some genuine emotions, facial expressions and interesting dating behavior.

Challenge: Can you guess who will be voted off at the beginning of each episode? Can you guess who will get the rose on group and individual dates?

What other shows have helped you practice your body language and lie detection skills?

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About Vanessa Van Edwards

Vanessa Van Edwards is a national best selling author & founder at Science of People. Her groundbreaking book, Captivate: The Science of Succeeding with People has been translated into more than 16 languages. As a recovering awkward person, Vanessa helps millions find their inner charisma. She regularly leads innovative corporate workshops and helps thousands of individual professionals in her online program People School. Vanessa works with entrepreneurs, growing businesses, and trillion dollar companies; and has been featured on CNN, BBC, CBS, Fast Company, Inc., Entrepreneur Magazine, USA Today, the Today Show and many more.

4 replies on “Best TV Shows to Practice Lie Detection”

  1. Denise Cochrane

    I watch MTV’s Are You The One to try and suss out who’s into who and figure out the perfect matches. I also watch a lot of interviews to learn body language from. All of this fascinates me and I will pursue this further in any way I can.

  2. Matthew Christopher

    I’d add shows like dateline NBC and ‘The First 48’. Not to mention just putting on nearly any news channel is sure to be even money lies to truth now-a-days. Not to offend anyone either but I have found televangelists to be great subjects to watch, particularly when they’re in the middle of a ‘pitch’ for donations.

  3. Michelle Thomas

    Hi Vanessa,

    I have this show that I secretly like to watch and I’ve found myself deciphering the body language and lies that are seen quite frequently on the show. Presently, there’s an issue of a leaked tape and although the boyfriend on the show denies any participation in the leaking, his “tells” and microexpressions are evident. Thanks for all the great content you provide here. I’ve loved the study of human behavior for a very long time and your research and info has been the most clear and concise that I’ve encountered.

    1. Danielle McRae

      Hi Michelle, we are very happy to hear that you are using what you have learned! It is so fun to spot body language tells on TV, especially reality television! Thanks for your comment. -Danielle and the Science of People Team

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