(Gists) Is it True Everyone Lies?

(Gists) Is it True Everyone Lies?

If you claim that you never lie, well, you’re a liar.

Those little white lies are slipping out more often than you realize: One study found that Americans, on average, tell about 11 lies per week.
Other research shows that number is on the conservative side. A study published in the Journal of Basic and Applied Social Psychology found that 60 percent of people can’t go 10 minutes without lying at least once. And it gets worse: Those that did lie actually told an average of three lies during that short conversation.

Why do we do it?

In surveying more than 100 psychology graduate students currently or previously in therapy, Leslie Martin, PhD, of Wake Forest University’s counseling center, found that of the 37 percent who reported lying, most did so “to protect themselves in some way — mostly to avoid shame or embarrassment, to avoid painful emotions and to avoid being judged.”

60 percent of people can’t go 10 minutes without lying at least once.

You know, like when you’re too tired to go to brunch so you claim you have a stomach bug or you tell your boss you had train trouble when you really just overslept. Then there are the little fibs called pro-social lies which we are taught as kids are harmless. (Telling Grandma that you love the new sweater when you actually hate it, or telling your wife she looks great in that outfit when you actually think she looks a little on the heavy side.)The problem with these little lies which are harmless at first is that they tend to have a snowball effect.

A study published in the journal Nature Neuroscience found that lying is a slippery slope: When people tell small lies, the brain becomes desensitized to the pang of guilt that dishonesty usually causes.

Basically, the more you lie, the easier it is to do it, and the bigger the lies get.

How good are we at detecting lies?

Research shows our accuracy of distinguishing truths from lies is just 53 percent not much better than flipping a coin.

Chances are you’re throwing lies around pretty often. But do you know when you’re being duped?

It turns out we are pretty good at pegging liars, but that we end up talking ourselves out of it. Research published in Psychological Science found that we all have pre-set instincts for detecting liars, but they are often overridden by our conscious minds.

”Although humans cannot consciously discriminate liars from truth-tellers, they do have a sense, on some less-conscious level, of when someone is lying,” the authors say. It’s our conscious biases and decision-making skills that interfere with the natural ability to detect deception.

A large meta-analysis revealed overall accuracy of distinguishing truths from lies was just 53 percent — not much better than flipping a coin, note the authors, psychologists Charles Bond, PhD, of Texas Christian University, and Bella DePaulo, PhD, of the University of California, Santa Barbara.

And it seems we’re all equally as bad at identifying them: A 2014 study found that emotionally intelligent individuals are more easily duped by liars.

While letting these little white lies go isn’t life or death (and honestly, we may be better off not knowing if our co-worker hates our outfit), there are more serious situations where vetting lies is an important skill. Say you have an underlying suspicion that your spouse is being unfaithful, or that your child may be engaging in dangerous activities behind your back.

Luckily there are active steps we can take to improve our lie detection radar. According to behavioural experts and professional interrogators, the key is to watch rather than listen. You may not be able to hear a lie but you can spot a liar by being aware of these nonverbal signs.

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