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

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.

Cues to Deception: What No One Ever Tells You

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.

A Trip to the Moon on Gossamer Wings

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.

Do You Lie About Your Age?

When I was a teenager I wanted to be thought of as older. Older girls seemed sophisticated, hip, and independent. Now that I am ACTUALLY older, it’s younger women who seem sophisticated, hip, and independent. Go figure.

My Mother Is Destroying My Social Life

By Barbara Greenberg Ph.D. on September 20, 2015 The Teen Doctor
How To Repair Your Relationship With Your Mother

Rewarding Executive Incompetence

By Ken Eisold Ph.D. on September 20, 2015 Hidden Motives
Researchers at Notre Dame’s business school “have found a correlation between generous option grants and the incidence of serious product recalls.” How could that be?

The Perils of Left and Right Swiping

By Sean M. Horan Ph.D. on September 18, 2015 Adventures in Dating
Online dating is a common activity for many single (and married) Americans. Still, just how old is that photo in the profile you're eyeing? Is it accurate? Research summarized here answers those questions.

Are We Trapped Inside Patterns?

Are you trapped by the way your brain organizes patterns? Reframing meaning can change everything.

Educated Serial Killers

By Katherine Ramsland Ph.D. on September 13, 2015 Shadow Boxing
Those serial killers who got college degrees tended to choose disciplines that could serve darker purposes.

Simple Techniques to Become a better Negotiator

The sad truth is most people will lie to cover known faults in items they are selling.

Machiavellians at Work: The Case of the Conniving Counselor

Machiavellians are cunning and can exert their influence gradually and subtly. At work they can cause significant harm before their schemes are outed. I responded to one such employee by calling her bluff and blocking her attempts at continued manipulation. Wrath ensued.

How to Negotiate with a Liar

We all negotiate. But how can we negotiate effectively if we don't know whether the other side is lying? We can't control their behavior, but we can control our own - which includes developing skills to guard against deceptive tactics.

Legal Consequences of Dementia

By Mario D Garrett PhD on September 09, 2015 iAge
In addition to the personal changes that come with being diagnosed with dementia there are other broader consequences including medical, legal and financial considerations. A diagnosis is a crude awakening that changes your life.

What Is a Machiavellian?

I am a master manipulator and a member of the dark triad. Pleased to meet you, won't you guess my name?

Brain Injury and Cell Phones

Do you hold your cell phone up directly to your ear? Hold it in your bra? Learn about the dangers.

Who Murders Children? Psychology Profiles Child Killers

Published in the academic journal Victims and Offenders this review also confirms the police can infer a lot about who committed the crime just from the age of the victim. When a child is younger than five, the suspect, who is equally likely to be male or female is most probably from within the same family, not motivated by molesting, and tends to kill using their hands.

Is Your Crap Detector Working?

By Karl Albrecht Ph.D. on September 02, 2015 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 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.

Your Field Guide to Body Language

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 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 Hide and Seek
A short, sharp look into some of the most important ego defenses.

Superman Needs You

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

What is the cost of humans being religious? It is much higher than we've been led to believe.

The Bundy Effect

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 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.