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

Gullibility Gulag

By Joachim I Krueger Ph.D. on November 29, 2015 One Among Many
After a 7-year hiatus I ventured again into the free-wheeling fringe world of alternative discovery. This time, it was show-and-tell for a detachment of Russian knowledge workers. That had much to say about negative energy, and indeed, something did not smell quite right.

Why Don't Bankers Learn?

By Ken Eisold Ph.D. on November 28, 2015 Hidden Motives
Banks Keep on Incurring Massive Penalties.

Save Me From the Fact-Checkers

By Ira Hyman Ph.D. on November 24, 2015 Mental Mishaps
Politicians lie. They also exaggerate and misremember. Each creates an autobiographical past that makes a great story but which probably isn’t completely true. But we are just like the lying politicians except for one critical difference.

Are You Being Lied to?

No matter the technique, most people can’t spot liars on a consistent basis. One potential solution to the problem is to remove “people” from the equation. Just let a computer do it.

Jane Austen Understood Deception and Discovery in Love

Jane Austen knew a secret or two about the problems with ambiguity in romance and love. Her most beloved novels hinge on a female character's misunderstandings on which man is the best for her, until time and circumstances reveal the truth.

How to Avoid Being Deceived by Opinion Polls

Master manipulators in politics, government, business, and media use opinion polls to influence our thinking, our choices, and our behavior. Learn to know when you’re being played for a rube.

Lifting the Covers: Sex with the Undercover Police

Has reporting over-simplified the predicament of undercover agents and their relationships?

Altered Minds

By Hara Estroff Marano on November 20, 2015 Nation of Wimps
In a new film, Altered Minds, director Michael Z Wechsler bases the psychological suspense on covert mind-control experiments.

Income Inequality and Bullsh*t

By William Irwin Ph.D. on November 19, 2015 It’s Your Choice
We all need to have enough income, but enough is not determined by how much our neighbors earn. It is incumbent upon each of us to define ourselves as individuals.

What Affairs Can Teach You

By Robert Taibbi L.C.S.W. on November 09, 2015 Fixing Families
Embedded in the pain of affairs are lessons: 4 things to learn

Women by Design: Transforming Home, Transforming Self

By Toby Israel Ph.D. on November 06, 2015 Design on My Mind
Secrets produce an often invisible but lasting trail of debris.

One Simple Way You Can Become a Human Lie Detector

Researchers have identified that observing whether or not someone is "thinking too hard" is the single most reliable cue for detecting a liar.

Beyond the "Selfie" Self: the Diametric View

Robert Trivers’ neo-Freudian view of the self-deceiving self is self-contradictory, but the diametric model suggests a more honest alternative.

When Auto Companies Do Wrong

The challenges VW faces in the aftermath of its protracted and elaborate lies about its emissions standards are not new to the car industry. Jennifer Robbennolt discusses the challenges General Motors faced in the aftermath of its defective ignition switches.

Teach Your Children to Lie

By Ira Hyman Ph.D. on October 30, 2015 Mental Mishaps
Lying is an incredibly important skill. But lying is pretty tricky and depends on a basic cognitive capability that young children lack and need to develop. You may have to teach your children how to lie effectively.

12 Tips For Identifying The Real Hypocrites

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on October 29, 2015 Ambigamy
They're accusing each other, and maybe even accusing you of being a hypocrite. How do we decide who really is the hypocrite? And how should we decide? Here are a few tips.


We each find a comfort zone between the poles of paranoia and gullibility, and proudly defend our spot at the expense of adaptive flexibility.

Are You Teaching Or Preaching?

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on October 22, 2015 Ambigamy
When we teach people how, but not what to think, are we crossing the line into proselytizing? Some say yes, which limits public education in critical thinking much to our national disadvantage.

The Death of Munchausen by Proxy

It's time for the term Munchausen by proxy to die a timely death in terms of its use in medical child abuse allegations and for investigators to focus on the impact on the child rather than the intent of the parent.

Wine, Ink, Women and Revenge

"He’d done something permanent to my idea of myself and I wanted to do the same thing to him” she explained.

Why I "Flip Flopped" Back to Hillary

"It is not the strongest nor the most intelligent of the species that survives. It is the one most adaptive to change" — Charles Darwin. Is Hillary a "flip flopper" or is she merely adapting to get stuff done?

The Walking Dead: The Further Confessions of Father Gabriel

On AMC's The Walking Dead, Father Gabriel Stokes lets zombies kill the members of his congregation, then projects his feelings about his own cowardice and untrustworthiness onto the program's main characters. After becoming progressively more self-destructive, attempting suicide by walker and provoking someone else, he sees he projected his own worst qualities onto others.

The Overarching Importance of Leadership Credibility

By Victor Lipman on October 18, 2015 Mind of the Manager
People are bone-tired of leaders they don't feel they can believe. In a land where evasion is commonly the verbal currency of choice, straight talk, no matter its flavor, has powerful popular appeal.

I Lied To My Mother

How To Repair A Relationship With Your Mother

You're Not My Real Mother (Part 2)

Capgras sufferers who murder a family member don't believe they are committing a crime or are harming someone they love. In fact, their motive is often to save the world — or themselves — from evil or to somehow "rescue" their loved one from an imposter.

What You Really Need to Know About Spotting Liars

By Bella DePaulo Ph.D. on October 11, 2015 Living Single
You don't need anyone to tell you about secret cues to deception. You are probably already using most of the cues you should be using and ignoring the ones you should be ignoring. Here's why reading more about cues won't help much, and what actually could be helpful.

How Master Manipulators Scam Us

Why does love sometimes blind people to obvious risks? Master manipulators thrive when we show ourselves to be naive and reckless. When it comes to romance, don't be a rube.

Gas-lighting: Burning the Bridges of Truth

One of the more insidious forms of mental abuse has come to be referred to as gas-lighting. It refers to those who attempt to destroy another person’s sense of reality.

What Makes Someone a Master Manipulator?

Among those afflicted with certain personality disorders, there are many who are master manipulators. Do personality disorders cause people to develop into master manipulators? The connection may not be as you expect.