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

How Outcome Switching is Corrupting Medical Research

According to two new studies, outcome switching in clinical trials is widespread and corrupting medicine.

Emotional Illusion: "The Queen of the Human Heart"

We may be inclined to hold an illusion as truth, especially when seeking pleasure or in matters of the heart.

The Whole Foods Cake Case: Why Do People Fake Victimhood?

By Andrea Bonior Ph.D. on April 21, 2016 Friendship 2.0
What would motivate a person to create a hoax and claim victimhood, like what's assumed in the Whole Foods cake case? Several factors are likely at play.

Are Your Memories Lying to You?

By Lee Eisenberg on April 13, 2016 The Point Is
Without our memories we'd have no life story. Without our life story, nothing would make sense. But does it matter whether or not our memories are "true"?

Overcoming the Comfort of Credibility

Sometimes we learn the hard way that credentials do not translate into character. Beware of cloaking impressive people with more credit than they deserve.

Book Review: Bart Ehrman’s Jesus Before the Gospels

In Jesus Before the Gospels, Ehrman presents a much needed, brilliant argument—one that challenges longstanding assumptions about the reliability of the Gospels.

The Truth About Lying Politicians

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on April 08, 2016 Ambigamy
Yes they lie, but we all do. The question isn't whether to lie but when? When does it help and when does it hurt? Not as easy to answer as we'd like to think.

Lying Vows

Romantic love dominates our lives. It occupies our thoughts, experiences, and desires. Yet when we attempt to honor the specialness of the bond, we often lie.

Shoot for Now, Ask Questions Later

Deadline gorillas. They chase us to get that assignment done or to fill in tax returns. Zap'em dead with hyperbolic discounting.

Getting Your Lying Teen to Level With You

Nothing can be more infuriating than a lying teenager. Here's what to do...

What Children of Narcissists Sometimes Do

As counterintuitive as it may feel in the narcissistic dynamic (especially with a parent), focus on the self is key to healing.

The President Apologizes

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on March 23, 2016 How To Do Life
What it takes to win...and whether it's worth it.

Guidelines For Dealing With A Partner's Affair

Affairs can end the relationship or strengthen it and they are always occasions for re-evaluation.

Who Is the Real Donald J. Trump?

The veneer of debate and public life can, indeed, conceal who a person is. However, there is now ample information to construct the person behind the mask.

Can People with ADHD really tell, "Honest Lies"?

Children and Adults with ADHD may be more prone to lying for these reasons.

Murder Kits

What killers pack in their murder bags reveals not just methods but also rituals and levels of ingenuity.

Teens and Porn

The internet has definitely made sexually explicit pictures and videos easily and widely accessible to anyone wanting to partake in a peep show and that includes your teen.

Can One Simple Exercise Really Improve Your Self-Esteem?

Psychology Today reader Christine Medina decided to try one simple exercise to improve her self-esteem for 30 days. Read about her journey and decide if you should try it too.

Hillary Plays the Cynicism Card

Cynicism results from the frustration of our needs for meaning and purpose and plagues our politics.

Fear, Loathing, and Denial at the End of the World

By Kenneth Worthy Ph.D. on February 29, 2016 The Green Mind
The antics of some presidential candidates—shouting, insults, sexism, and racism—are making many people cringe. We need adults in the room to deal with society’s major problems.

Reinventing How We Select Our Political Leaders

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on February 26, 2016 How To Do Life
So many people are upset by the current system. There's a better way.

Why Forgive Trump? He Hasn’t Earned It.

By Marty Babits on February 23, 2016 The Middle Ground
When confronted with wrongdoing some people come clean, others use a disingenuous defense.

Celebrating Your Child’s Lies

By Cortney S. Warren Ph.D. on February 22, 2016 Naked Truth
By age 4, the large majority of children lie. Although we do not want to encourage lying in our children, there are actually reasons to celebrate your young child's lies.

How Your Lie–Detector Chin Gives Away the Naked Truth

We surmise what lies behind facial expressions, decipher body language, and interpret tone apart from literal words. We read between the lines and hear what isn't said.

The Movie "Spotlight" Exposes the Power of Denial

By Kate Roberts Ph.D. on February 19, 2016 Savvy Parenting
Are you aware of your tendency to deny the things that are hard to face? The Spotlight Movie shows us how we are all vulnerable to denial.

Is Honesty Really the Best Policy?

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on February 19, 2016 How To Do Life
A short-story story about a liar who always prevailed and what I'd say to him.

Bernie and Hillary Naked on Stage

Body language broadcasts more than people realize. Politicians try hard not to say what’s really on their mind, but sometimes they might as well be naked on the stage.

Crisis Pregnancy Centers Traumatize Women Through Deception

Emotional manipulation and outright lies used to dissuade women from seeking abortions.

Better Mental Health

The promise of better mental health

Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire!

By E E Smith on February 14, 2016 Not Born Yesterday
George Washington proclaimed, "I cannot tell a lie," and Lincoln was called "Honest Abe." Can we conclude from these two examples that American politicians aspire to be truthful?