New book debunks myths about lying
Washington: Defying conventional wisdom about how and why people lie, a psychology professor at the University of Massachusetts has said in his new book that lying is common, and people willingly accept and often welcome the lies they are told because it takes a lot of work to identify lying and liars.
Robert Feldman has offered his insights into the world of lying in his new book, titled ‘The Liar in Your Life’, published on August 3.
In the book, Feldman has debunked many myths and has said that we are not only bad at detecting falsehoods, but in fact are strongly and unconsciously willing to believe other people’s lies to make our lives easier.
Feldman also made some other revelations— for example, he said that despite what most of us would like to believe, even young children lie, and they get better at it over time.
In fact, parents consciously teach their children to lie.
He also said that it is very difficult to detect liars, even cops and detectives have trouble and can be easily fooled.
Feldman concluded that we all frequently practice some form of deception, from outright falsehoods to “little white lies,” in our daily lives.
He said that in the new interconnected world, use of e-mail and the Internet tends weaken our existing standards of honesty.
“We’re always managing what we say. I’ve found that ‘white lies’ do have consequences and that the danger of telling them is they lead us toward being more dishonest,” said Feldman.
He also said that although it is probably not reasonable to expect people to stop lying, it is possible to monitor our own behaviour to curtail the process as much as possible.
One of the most important finding of his research is what he calls the “liar’s advantage”—that is made up of several components, some of which are that lying is easy and it is very hard to detect.
He said that the belief that an individual who averts his or her gaze, acts nervous and perspires is probably not telling the truth, is false.
And neither is it accurate that someone who looks you straight in the eye will be telling the truth. He said that polygraph testing is also a poor judge of whether someone is telling the truth.
“Despite the beliefs of many law enforcement personnel. The scientific research shows that polygraphs are unreliable at detecting lies,” said Feldman.
Feldman said that he found that people don’t recognize how common it is to tell a socially acceptable “white lie,” or how easy it is for total strangers to begin twisting the truth even in a casual conversation.
The study found that strangers meeting face-to-face for the first time will tell lies three times within 10 minutes.
And if strangers meet through a computer conversation they are even more likely to lie, according to a new study reported in the book.