All About Deception

Studies show that the average person lies several times a day. Some of those are biggies (“I’ve always been faithful to you,”) but more often, they are little white lies (“Of course that dress looks good on you!”) Some forms of deception aren’t exactly lies: combovers, nodding when you’re not listening. And then there are lies we tell ourselves, for reasons that run the gamut from healthy maintenance of self-esteem, to serious delusions beyond our control. 

Recent Posts on Deception

Liar, Liar, Working Memory on Fire

Working Memory can make you a better liar, research shows

The Quicksand of Self-deception: The Nocebo Effect

The placebo effect is a well-known phenomenon. Less well-known is the nocebo effect, placebo’s “evil twin.” Can physicians cause more harm than good when they give their patients too much information about a potential medication or therapeutic treatment, including those for weight-related disorders? What are the ethical considerations involved in withholding information?

7 Key Signs of a Lying Child or Teenager

Psychologist Adrian Furnham identified a variety of ways to detect whether an individual may be dishonest. We can apply some of the tips to communication situations with young persons. Here are seven ways to tell if a child or teenager might be lying to you...

The Only Excuse You’ll Ever Need (or Should Ever Use)

When there’s something you’d rather not do, or wish you hadn’t done, an excuse might seem like the only graceful remedy. This simple guideline to making that excuse work will help you figure out how to make the best of that bad situation.

6 Ways to Detect a Liar in Just Seconds

While people will always get away with lying, most lies are pretty easy to spot if you know how to read the signs. Here are a few techniques to determine if someone is telling the truth or not.

New Book Tracks Myriad Ways Mental Health System Fails

Bonnie Burstow's new book tracks forces that cause devastation of people's lives in the mental health system

Lies, SIM Lies, and Statistics!

Simulation characters are getting more sophisticated, which is good news for investigators who want to hone their skills.

What Being a Magician Taught Me About the Importance of Lies

My story is the same as every magician's story. I discovered magic when I was a scrawny, socially-awkward, unpopular middle school student (I've since graduated middle school). I since learned a lot about lies and here's my confession: I truly believe that deception and illusion are important and possibly even noble.

Is Honesty Really the Best Policy?

Is it ever OK not to be completely honest?

When Adolescents Continually Lie

Continually lying to parents needs to prove counter-productive for the adolescent.

Is Everyone on Match.com Looking for a Match?

By Marty Klein PhD on June 29, 2015 in Sexual Intelligence
Many people use dating sites to window shop. Their mates, however, may not be amused.

Memory Doesn't Always Deceive

Psychology has some horrible experiments on its conscience - or ought to have.

The Psychology of Delusions

By Adrian Furnham Ph.D. on June 23, 2015 in A Sideways View
What different types of delusions do people suffer from?

Is the Rachel Dolezal Controversy Much Ado About Nothing?

In lieu of the Dolezal controversy, can we have an informative dialogue about racial identity in America?

5 Benefits of Gossip (Even Negative Gossip)

By Jennifer Haupt on June 22, 2015 in One True Thing
Nobody likes to be badmouthed, but we all talk about co-workers behind their backs occasionally. Turns out, that's not always a bad thing.

Can a White Person Become Black?

People all over the nation were shocked to learn about the curious case of Rachel Dolezal, former head of the NAACP chapter in Spokane who self-identifies as a Black woman, even though her biological parents are White. What is the psychology behind race switching and our reaction to it?

(Dis)Honesty—The Truth About Lies

CNBC recently aired a fantastic new documentary called (Dis)Honesty – The Truth About Lies. In addition to describing some great psychological research on lying and self-deception, the film gives various first-person accounts of dishonesty and its consequences. This is a must-see film for anyone interested in understanding lying and self-deception.

The 8 Biggest Myths About Lying

Sometimes we make ourselves believe a lie because the truth is too painful.

We Are Now Experimenting on You, OK?

By Robert Klitzman M.D. on June 07, 2015 in Am I My Genes?
Facebook, pharmaceutical, and other social media companies and researchers are increasingly conducting experiments on us. Sometimes, we don't even know it. The system for reviewing these ethics of these studies is broken. Here are some important facts you need to know about it, and how we need to fix it. Our minds and bodies are at stake.

How To Read People’s Minds: Everyday Mind Reading

Although there is no sound evidence for ESP, there is evidence that we can develop our perceptual skills and become better at reading other people’s feelings and thoughts. Here’s how to become an everyday mindreader.

Have We Discovered a Prime Reason Why Some Men Cheat?

By Rebecca Coffey on June 01, 2015 in The Bejeezus Out of Me
Do men who feel "pink washed" by their wives' earning power try to reclaim their masculinity by catting around?

Trust Your Gut If You Suspect Lying

By Temma Ehrenfeld on May 30, 2015 in Open Gently
Fleeting expressions can indicate hidden emotions, and you can learn to see them.

FIFA Fo Fum I Smell the Blood of Corruption

What’s most shocking about the FIFA corruption scandal is that it has been going on for so long with so many people aware of it and yet the majority turning a blind eye to it.

After the Break-Up: Making Sense of What Happened

Whenever someone breaks up with you, it’s normal to ask “why?” and try to make sense of what happened. This week, I received an inquiry from a reader who is mystified by a sudden breakup. She describes the relationship and breakup, revealing some clues as to what went wrong, including enmeshment, dishonesty, and insecurity, which doomed their relationship from the start.

How Marketers Manipulate You Into Becoming Their Friend

New research reveals how shockingly easy it is to manipulate consumers to like and forgive marketers that deceive them.

Finding the Truth through Forensic Media Psychology

In years ahead, law schools, schools of psychology, television, media and film, business schools and schools of public policy will offer courses, certificates and degrees in Forensic Media Psychology. FMP is a field whose time has arrived. Must Read!

Is Cheating Our New Normal?

By Peg Streep on May 21, 2015 in Tech Support
Have we become a nation of cheaters, so focused on getting what we want that we don't care what means we use?

How To Identify A Sexual Manipulator

Not all relationships are formed on an equal footing. Learn how to spot a sexual manipulator and avoid the heartache.

How to Stop Others from Lying

By Joseph Grenny on May 13, 2015 in Crucial Conversations
The most powerful way to improve the moral character of our world is not policing, but connecting. We can help one another stay morally engaged by simply connecting people with their own values and with the consequences of their choices.

The Stories He Told Himself: Understanding Brian Williams

Our thoughts have a profound affect on us—whether they are true or false. Although we cannot know exactly why Brian Williams lied to the public about his experiences in the Iraq war, it is quite possible that he believed his lies when he told them. And when any of us lie to ourselves, we will lie to others. For we will communicate our lies as if they are fact.