Why Do You Lie?
Most people lie in everyday conversations. Scientists say we often lose track of the truth when we meet someone new. We want so badly to seem likable and smart that we don’t even realize we’re lying.
We lie for all kinds of reasons — to spare feelings or avoid confrontation, among many other things. Getting along with other people can be complicated, so it’s almost impossible not to fib at some point.
When are you more likely to lie?
Just getting through the day can sap your willpower and make you more likely to take shortcuts — and tell lies — later in the day. So if you’re hiring and want the truth, schedule those interviews in the morning, when job candidates are less likely to lie.
Most people lie more when their self- esteem is threatened:
Researchers have found that as soon as we’re afraid that others will think less of us, we immediately start to lie at a much higher rate. It’s not a gender thing. But the sexes do tend to lie for different reasons. Men are more likely to do it to make themselves look good. Women, on the other hand, are more likely to lie to make someone else feel good.
You’re more likely to lie to a co-worker than a stranger.
You’re more interested in what your co-worker thinks of you than an outsider who doesn’t know you or anyone you care about — and who you may never see again.
Children start to deceive before they can talk
At less than a year old, an infant might “cry” when nothing is really wrong — she just wants attention. Babies also can be sneaky. For example, an 11-month-old might try to distract his mother by staring at her so she doesn’t notice he’s dropping food he doesn’t want to eat. Older children are more likely to lie for the good of a group than younger ones. Eleven-year-olds do it more often than 9-year-olds, and they do it more than 7-year-olds. Older kids are also more likely to say it’s OK when they’re asked how they feel about this kind of situation in a story.
Animals don’t lie.
Chimpanzees and other primates purposely deceive to get food or sex — or to avoid punishment. In one famous example, Koko, an internationally known gorilla who uses sign language, pulled a sink from a wall and broke it. When asked how it happened, she blamed it on her new friend — a tiny kitten named Kate.
People, who are more trusting, are more likely to detect a liar:
It seems like poetic justice: People who tend to give others the benefit of the doubt are more likely to know when someone lies. One reason for this may be that people who are less trusting don’t put themselves out there in social situations, so they don’t develop those skills.
Highly trained experts can tell when someone is lying.
There are no true “tells” — things like eye contact, voice tone, and gestures are different from person to person. According to the FBI, all kinds of things can affect a person’s behavior, including the kind of lie, the amount of time he has to prepare for it, and how good a fibber he thinks he is
Which typically takes more time and effort?
For most of us, our natural instinct is to tell the truth. It takes work to decide to tell a lie and make up a believable story — and then it’s hard not to spill the beans later. People who repeatedly tell lies with no clear benefit to themselves or others are considered “pathological.” This isn’t seen as a condition on its own, but some scientists think it should be.