The Time Cure

New approaches to overcoming PTSD, depression, and anxiety

Frequent Liars/Secret Lives

Most of us bend the truth – or omit it – on occasion for different reasons. But why are some of us more prone than others to sharing or telling secrets and lies? Read More

Frequent Lies/Secret Lives Expanded

This excellent brief article is entirely consistent with deception studies, particularly a burgeoning empirical and observational forensic and neuropsychological literature (see second editions of Richard Rogers, and Harold V. Hall & colleagues). Three points worth expanding, however: (1) various surveys have convincingly shown that both normal and character-disordered persons lie on average several times daily, mostly what they term "white lies" regarding relationships or prevarication aimed at hiding self-gain, or perceived prevention of harm to self; (2) Most everyone has "secret lives" to some degree if you count the behaviors we go at lengths to conceal. Even the highly controversial MPD involves events which are kept "secret" by the expresser except under special investigative circumstances. Society as we know it would become significantly different, not necessarily for the best, if everyone told the truth all the time and the "social lubricant" function of lies somehow vanished (if such were possible); and (3) frequent lies and secret lives occur with most societally perceived wrongdoing. In my 40+ years of criminal-forensic work with thousands of offenders, almost every defendant employed deception as the integral part of his or her assault cycle or property crime. Its the dumb ones--those not using deception, that usually get caught and punished. Only a handful thought they had done an immoral act.

Frequent Lies/Secret Lives Expanded

This excellent brief article is entirely consistent with deception studies, particularly a burgeoning empirical and observational forensic and neuropsychological literature (see second editions of Richard Rogers, and Harold V. Hall & colleagues). Three points worth expanding, however: (1) various surveys have convincingly shown that both normal and character-disordered persons lie on average several times daily, mostly what they term "white lies" regarding relationships or prevarication aimed at hiding self-gain, or perceived prevention of harm to self; (2) Most everyone has "secret lives" to some degree if you count the behaviors we go at lengths to conceal. Even the highly controversial MPD involves events which are kept "secret" by the expresser except under special investigative circumstances. Society as we know it would become significantly different, not necessarily for the best, if everyone told the truth all the time and the "social lubricant" function of lies somehow vanished (if such were possible); and (3) frequent lies and secret lives occur with most societally perceived wrongdoing. In my 40+ years of criminal-forensic work with thousands of offenders, almost every defendant employed deception as the integral part of his or her assault cycle or property crime. Its the dumb ones--those not using deception, that usually get caught and punished. Only a handful thought they had done an immoral act.

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Rosemary K.M. Sword and Philip Zimbardo are authors, along with Richard M. Sword, of The Time Cure: Overcoming PTSD with the New Psychology of Time Perspective Therapy.

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