Unfortunately, we do not always understand when we are being lied to and when not. Studies show that we only recognize a lie 54% of the time. This means that sometimes it’s easier to flip a coin instead of puzzling over. But, although it is difficult for us to detect lies, we can try to recognize if a liar is in front of us.
It happens that we are in time to soften the situation or not hurt the feelings of loved ones. But true masters of lies turn lies into art, lie with or without reason, and not just compose, but do it according to the rules. If we also know them, we will be able to expose the one who is dishonest with us. And make a choice: trust or not trust everything he says.
Psychologists from the Universities of Portsmouth (UK) and Maastricht (Netherlands) have conducted a study that will help us find the liar.
194 volunteers (97 women, 95 men and 2 participants who chose to hide their gender) told the scientists exactly how they lie and whether they consider themselves a guru of deception or, on the contrary, do not rate their skills highly. A logical question arises: can we trust those who participated in the survey? Didn’t they lie?
The authors of the study assure that they not only interviewed the volunteers, but also took into account data related to their behavior and other variables. In addition, the participants were guaranteed anonymity and impartiality, and they had no need to lie to those who interviewed them. So what patterns did the study reveal?
1. Lying mainly comes from someone who is used to lying. Most of us tell the truth most of the time. The lie comes from a small number of “cheating specialists”. To confirm this fact, psychologists refer to a 2010 study with 1000 volunteers. Its results showed that half of the false information came from only 5% of the respondents who were liars.
2. Those with high self-esteem lie more often. According to the study, those who rate themselves more highly lie more often than others. And they themselves think that they are great at lying.
3. Good liars tend to lie on little things. “Specialists in the field of deception” not only lie more often, but they also choose small reasons for lying. They like such a lie more than lies, which can lead to serious consequences. If a liar is sure that he will not be overtaken by “retribution”, he often lies and on trifles.
4. Good liars prefer to lie to our faces. Researchers have found that professional liars prefer to deceive others through face-to-face contact, rather than through messages, calls, or emails. Perhaps their strategies work best when they are close to the person they are lying to. In addition, we expect that on the Internet the risk of being lied to is somewhat higher – and the pro liars know this.
5. Liars spice up lies with a grain of truth. Those who lie often usually like to talk at all. Skillful deceivers often combine truth and lies in their stories, decorate stories with facts that were really present in their lives. Most often we are talking about some recent or recurring events and experiences.
6. Liars love simplicity. We would rather believe in a story that is free of ambiguity. Anyone who is skilled at lying will not overload his deception with many details. The truth can be both discouraging and illogical, but lies are usually crisp and clear.
7. Good liars come up with believable stories. Plausibility is a great disguise for lying. And in front of you is definitely a master of his craft, if you easily believe him, but you do not have the opportunity to verify the facts that the narrator mentions.
8. Gender is important. The results of the study showed that “men are twice as likely as women to believe that they can lie skillfully and without consequences.” Among those volunteers who reported that they did not consider themselves to be skillful deceivers, 70% were women. And among those who described themselves as masters of lies, 62% are men.
9. Who are we to the liar? Psychologists have found that those who consider themselves pros in lies are more likely to deceive colleagues, friends and partners. At the same time, they try not to lie to family members, employers and those who are authority for them. Those who believe that they cannot lie are more likely to deceive strangers and casual acquaintances.