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

Is Your Crap Detector Working?

By Karl Albrecht Ph.D. on September 02, 2015 in BrainSnacks
Are you being hypnotized and intellectually anesthetized by the constant flood of entertainment imagery in the popular culture? As writer Ernest Hemingway advised, maybe it's time to tune up your "crap detector."

How to Spot When Someone is Lying to You

But before we are too quick to judge those in the headlines who find themselves accused of lying, the psychological research indicates that ordinary people tell an average of 1.5 lies a day, but this rate can climb dramatically because how likely you are to deceive depends a lot on the situation you find yourself in.

Life is Short… and so Could Be Your Marriage

By Stan Tatkin Psy.D. on September 01, 2015 in The Puzzle of Love
There is no such thing as “safe” infidelity. Couples who want to stay together need to appreciate the importance of establishing safety and security within their relationship.

The Psychology of Gestures

By Adrian Furnham Ph.D. on August 29, 2015 in A Sideways View
Think of a rude gesture, and when you last used it. Think of a famous TV star and their peculiar and very personal gestures. What information are these gestures conveying? What can we read into head, hand and foot movements?

What Most People Get Wrong About Generosity and Selfishness

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on August 28, 2015 in Ambigamy
People treat generosity as all good and selfishness as all bad. It's more complicated than that. Still, pretending it's that simple can be a great way to grab what we want.

The Psychology of Self-Deception

By Neel Burton M.D. on August 28, 2015 in Hide and Seek
A short, sharp look into some of the most important ego defenses.

Superman Needs You

By Kirby Farrell Ph.D. on August 26, 2015 in A Swim in Denial
A powerful leader in politics, business, in love has “magnetism.” But leaders depend on followers, who follow because it’s rewarding. Consider the attention commanded by Donald Trump or even Adolf Hitler. Lives depend on it. What’s the magnetic secret?

Lord of the Flies

By Eric Dietrich Ph.D. on August 19, 2015 in Excellent Beauty
What is the cost of humans being religious? It is much higher than we've been led to believe.

The Bundy Effect

By Katherine Ramsland Ph.D. on August 18, 2015 in Shadow Boxing
The Bundy Effect is the ability to create multiple impressions, fluidly and effectively, to achieve a goal.

Public Faces Vs. Private Thoughts: the Actor's Paradox

Many therapists seem to think that patients behave in their offices in ways typical of how they behave in other social contexts. This is very naive. We all present different aspects of ourselves, and hide other things, depending on the goals we are trying to reach with certain others, or because of loyalty to our family system and its beliefs. We lie even to ourselves.

U.S. Psychology After Torture

By Yosef Brody Ph.D. on August 17, 2015 in Future Directions
The APA torture scandal, science, ideology, and the future of psychology

Can You Lose Your Eyesight for Psychological Reasons?

What is referred to as 'medically unexplained visual loss' or non-organic visual loss (NOVL), is reported to occur in 1 to 5% of patients attending ophthalmology clinics. In many cases it continues without improvement for an extended period.

Eight Questions to Kill the Negative Voice Inside Your Head

Discover why negative self-talk happens and how to overcome it with eight simple questions.

A Riddle For All Ages

By Kaja Perina on August 03, 2015 in Brainstorm
When my son was old enough to understand the basic concept of infinity (but hardly its nuance), he presented me with a “trick riddle.”

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?