The Consequences of Dishonesty | SPSP
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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 prosocial lies are often viewed as more trustworthy and more moral than are people who tell harsh truths. However, not all prosocial lying driven by compassion yields benefits. People who receive overly positive feedback about their abilities are susceptible to thinking they will succeed in enterprises with very low chances of success and may therefore launch ill-advised ventures.
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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.
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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While body language cues can offer clues to deceptions, it is often not good enough. More accurate signals are:
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.
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.