In the study, Dr. Levine tracked 630 people’s lies every day for three months, and the results showed that 6% of the participants, on average, told more than 6 lies per day.
In contrast, three-quarters of the participants said they had always been honest, telling between zero and two lies per day.
Why do people lie?
In the biology of lying, using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), deception researchers have found that deception is associated with activation of the prefrontal cortex, located in the front of the brain, which plays an important role in personality identification, planning cognitive tasks and regulating social and emotional behavior.
Studies have also proven that lying is more mentally stressful than telling the truth, although the brain can adapt to lying, the more a person lies, the more his brain gets used to lying.
But liars usually put more mental effort into observing their own behavior and evaluating the reactions of others, because they are concerned with their own credibility and ensuring that others believe their stories.
Psychologically, people resort to lying for many different reasons, explained by the famous psychologist Paul Ekman, who found among the most common motives for lying:
• Avoid punishment and fear of threat
• Hiding the benefit gained from breaking a rule or violating laws.
• Protecting a loved one from harm.
• Self-protection and pretending to be strong.
• Maintain privacy.
• Avoid embarrassment.
• Courtesy to win affection.
Whatever kind of lie: consider the consequences!
Deception researcher and psychologist Bella de Paulo classifies social lies known as “white lies” or little lies, as somewhat socially acceptable, because they can help promote social harmony, unlike big antisocial lies, which lead to the fragmentation of relationships. Social, especially those lies whose owner deliberately, mislead or deceive others, for personal gain.
And the researcher adds, “Small lies cannot be overlooked, and not seen as wrong in general, and that they may not be harmful. In any case, we must stop justifying lies, because it is important, to realize that people in general are completely honest, in their daily contacts.
Among the important tips offered by Di Paolo and other experts to get rid of the scourge of lying:
Putting Social Relations First: Lying causes lasting damage in marital and other relationships, and even a few small lies can lead to mistrust, lack of empathy, and decreased intimacy.
Lies cause stress. Lying can solve a problem quickly, but maintaining a lie is tiring and leads to long-term problems, especially as it builds up and grows larger than expected. Therefore, experts warn of the danger of the impact of lying on human health, due to the constant stress.
Keep in mind that the lying rope is short: Deception is not always easy to detect, but research suggests that people are able to detect lies, with an accuracy of 54%, and this high probability of people discovering that they have been manipulated is reason enough to refrain from lying.
Practice honesty and look for alternatives to lying: It is important to identify situations in which a person may be tempted to lie and think of alternative ways to deal with them, by:
Focus on changing the behavior in the situation in which lying is likely, and think in advance what can be done to be honest in this situation.
Learn to formulate honest feelings or opinions in a way that doesn’t make others feel bad.
Telling the truth by writing and then sending it via text message or email, if sharing the truth out loud is too difficult.