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Why Do We Lie?

Behavioral conditioning

Lying keeps us hooked because we enjoy the reward. The outcomes are unpredictable.
Lying is reinforced every time we get away with it. 

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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

Why Do We Lie?

Why Do We Lie?

https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/blog/the-dolphin-divide/201309/why-do-we-lie

psychologytoday.com

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Key Ideas

Our reasons for lying

Where lying is concerned, we just can't seem to help ourselves. 

We lie for two reasons: behavioral conditioning and cognitive evolutionary biology.

Behavioral conditioning

Lying keeps us hooked because we enjoy the reward. The outcomes are unpredictable.
Lying is reinforced every time we get away with it. 

Cognitive evolutionary biology

Lying is a valuable tool in our survival kit. We can spare someone's feelings or build social standing. Lying can keep us out of trouble or even save our lives.

Practicing deception starts as early as six months of age such as fake crying or laughter. But people only start to get good at it after another four years where they learn to let go of the unbelievable lies and settle for what kind of lies work. 

SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

To lie is human
To lie is human
  • Lying is something that most people are very practiced in. We lie in big and small ways, to strangers, co-workers, friends, and loved ones.
  • Researchers found that people lie on ave...
Lying increases with maturity

The increase in lying is driven by the development of the ability to see the world from someone else's perspective. We gain an understanding of the beliefs, intentions, and knowledge of others.

The more we lie, the easier it becomes. Among two-year-olds, only 30 percent are untruthful. Among three-year-olds, 50 percent lie. By eight, kids learn to mask their lying by deliberately giving a wrong answer or making their statement seem like a guess.

Why we limit our lies

We like to see ourselves as honest because we have internalized honesty as a value taught to us. We generally place limits on how much we are willing to lie.

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Lies Motivated By Compassion

When we decide to lie, we privilege some other value over honesty. The value is often compassion, as people lie more about their feelings than about anything else. 

Those who tell...

Lies Motivated By Desire for Material Gain
When a desire for material gain motivates lying, the consequences are likely to be negative. 
One factor that prevents people from lying for personal gain is the need/desire to see oneself as a moral person. 
Desire to Maintain a Positive Self-Concept
  • People sometimes lie to themselves or others out of a need to see themselves positively. 
  • People often experience greater positive emotions when exaggerating their intelligence or skill to themselves or others.
  • Liars driven by the desire to see themselves positively can forget that their dishonesty contributed to their success. Consequently, they may make misguided bets about their future performance. 
Body Language
Body Language

While body language cues can offer clues to deceptions, it is often not good enough. More accurate signals are:

  • Intentionally leaving out important details.
  • If the p...
Ask Them to Tell Their Story in Reverse

The passive process of observing a potential liar's body language and facial expressions to spot lies is limited.

Adopt a more active approach by asking the individual to relate their story in reverse order rather than chronological order.

Trust Your Instincts

People often rely on stereotypical behaviors that are often associated with lying such as fidgeting or shifty eyes. But these signs are simply old wives' tales.

Your first gut reactions might be more accurate than any conscious lie detection you might attempt.

Analyze vs. speculate

Assuming folded arms are a sign of lying behavior is speculation. 

Instead, consider whether the behavior is a result of your question, or possibly just nervousness.

Manage your bias

Deceptive people can flood you with truthful answers and make you believe that they are good people. 

Filter through all the information that is meant to deceive you to get to the real untruths.

Recognize evasiveness

A deceptive person will talk around the issue without actually answering the initial question. 

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Our Delusions

Most people are misleading themselves all the time. Our biases, our ego and our mental traps have held us captive, unable to endorse or support anything that shakes our cage. We believe we are smar...

Reality Distortion

Most of us have evolved to overestimate our positive qualities, as it feels good. This ‘self-enhancement’ is done with the right intentions but is nothing more than a reality distortion in our minds.

Self-Deceptions

We all form impressions about ourselves, and once those impressions have been formed, they stick. It is as if once they are frozen in our minds, having become a part of us, and we don’t want to lose them, even if they are proven to be false.

Example: A study on high school boys showed that having overconfidence (or self-deception) in one’s abilities (athletic or academic) made them popular, even if they weren't really better in any of those abilities.

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Smartphones and Messaging
Smartphones and Messaging

Phones became smart more than a decade ago and started doing almost everything.

While the app store has millions of apps to take care of our needs, connecting with other people remains one ...

The Message

The technological tools we use keeps us connected to the people that matter to us, and the text (later rich text message) is one of the oldest ways of communication since portable phones came into existence.

It also has a hidden secret that makes us keep checking it.

The Four-Step Hook

... deployed by the messaging software and many other products is composed of:

  1. Trigger
  2. Action
  3. Variable Reward
  4. Investment

Understanding these four steps makes us see the hidden psychology behind a user's daily tech habits.

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Slow-wave sleep (deep sleep) – SWS

About 80% of our sleeping is of the SWS variety, identified by slow brain waves, relaxed muscles and deep breathing.

Deep sleep is important for the consolidation of memories. New experience...

Rapid eye movement (dreaming) - REM

Dreaming accounts for 20% of our sleeping time.

The length of dreams can vary from a few seconds to almost an hour. During REM sleep, the brain is highly active. The muscles are paralyzed, and the heart rate increases. Breathing can become erratic. 

Sleep quantity

Although eight hours is the common mention, optimum sleep can vary from person to person and from age to age.

One review that worked through 320 research articles concluded 7 - 9 hours of sleep are enough for adults. According to experts, too little or too much sleep can both have a negative impact on your health.

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Narcissists are often pathological liars

Narcissists lack empathy, so telling the truth does not matter to them. They may not even realize they are lying most of the time, because they are not aware of it.

Don't ma...

Compulsive liars are not necessarily bad people

Compulsive liars are often too careless to tell the truth. They don't take the time to think things through.

Although it is really hard to break this habit, they need to learn to control their urge to lie.  

Why people swear

Swearing is used to signify a number of emotions, (e.g. anger, frustration, joy, surprise). It can be used to achieve a specific reaction from others. It can also be a useful substitute ...

Swearing: a universal constant

Swearing is not just for the uneducated or people of a lower socio-economic class -  it knows no social boundaries in its expression.

Personality research suggests that people who swear more, score higher on traits such as extraversion, dominance, hostility and Type A personalities.

Philosophy and truth

We think philosophy has a role to play in identifying and correcting the disconnect between perception and reality with regard to politicians’ trustworthiness. By providing a theory of lying and tr...

Augustine on lying

Augustine (354-430) was one of the first to define a lie explicitly as the intent to deceive.

Augustine argues that lying is not permissible regardless of the circumstances that provoked the lie.

Kant on lying

Kant defines a lie as an “intentionally untruthful declaration”.

Kant identifies truthfulness as an utterance that accurately represents one’s thoughts (including one’s beliefs), regardless of whether those thoughts are themselves accurate.
Kant argues that lying is not permissible, but he allows for engaging in deception through careful word choice or evasion.

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