I’m fine, I definitely love you, I’ll call you later, this dress is very beautiful. These are just a few of the lies we tell ourselves or others every day. It is unlikely that you will find a person who has never lied. What factor or factors sometimes make us prefer lies to truth? In this note, we talk about the reasons for lying and the process that occurs in our brain when doing so, as well as lying at work.
Lying costs billions of dollars every year to businesses and governments, destroys social relations, and may even kill people. There are many reasons for lying and it can be examined from a neurological and psychological point of view. In recent years, new trends such as behavioral economics have also done a lot of research in this field.
Let’s first see how much we lie
Dr. Bella DePaulo, a psychologist and professor at the University of Virginia, believes that lying has become part of our daily lives. His findings show that men and women lie in one-fifth of their social interactions, while only 10 minutes have passed. Within a week, we lie in 30% of our one-on-one relationships. Men are also more likely to lie about themselves in order to influence others; While women are more likely to lie so as not to hurt the feelings of others.
However, Dr. Kim Serota, a professor of marketing at the University of Auckland, found in a 2010 study of 1,000 people that 60 percent of participants did not lie daily. However, he found that men lied more than women and young people more than the elderly.
Serota and his colleague Timothy Levine had another interesting discovery. They found that half of the lies were told by 5% of those surveyed. In other words, a certain minority lies far more than others, whom Serota and Levin called “hardworking liars.”
In 2019, another study confirmed Serota’s findings. About 40% of the lies told in the study were told by a small group of professional and hard-working liars; Liars who often lie to their loved ones without fear of retribution.
Dr. Brianna Verigin, head of research at the University of Portsmouth in the United Kingdom, says of this deceitful group:
Hardworking liars skillfully hide the truth between false words to make it difficult to distinguish right from wrong. They are also good at making up false but simple and believable stories.
Why do we lie?
Dr. Robert Feldman, a professor of psychology at Amherst University in Massachusetts, explains the reasons for lying:
We lie because it is a very effective social method. Most of the time people do not expect to hear lies. They think they are hearing the truth. That is why they are so likely to believe a lie.
Dr. Feldman lists 7 major reasons people lie, which we will explain to you:
Flattery is one of the most common forms of lying. It must have occurred to you that someone defined you, and you felt that this definition was said for other reasons than it was true. People may pick eggplants around the frame for a variety of reasons. Maybe they are looking to get close to someone and gain their trust. They may want to make demands or avoid unpleasant social situations by hiding the truth.
۲. Avoid unpleasant social situations
It must have happened to you that you do not want to go to a party or a period, but instead of honestly rejecting the request, you have made an excuse to reject it; For example, I really wanted to be with you, but tonight I have a headache or I have things to do.
3. Convince others
Sometimes people lie to you to convince you to do what they want you to do or buy their product. This is especially true in marketing techniques; For example, imagine a salesperson who exaggerates the effectiveness of an anti-acne cream to convince you to buy it.
4. Preventing the negative consequences of behavior
Imagine a child breaking a glass while playing. When asked about this, he most likely says it was not his job, even though the evidence is conclusive, he denies it. As we get older, we learn to lie more professionally to avoid the negative consequences of some of our wrong behaviors. Sometimes we may lie for the sake of our loved ones to prevent them from being punished.
5. Achieve the desired results and results
Unlike the previous case, sometimes we lie to achieve the desired result or result of ourselves or our loved ones; For example, someone who exaggerates when writing a resume or when writing a letter of recommendation to a friend to increase their chances of being hired by a company.
6. Influence others
Sometimes we lie to influence others and show attractive or even powerful faces. Consider a manager who exaggerates his or her accomplishments to limit the space for challenging his or her decisions, or think of a young name seeker who is smarter in attracting classmates.
7. Protect from the lies we have already told
Sometimes we lie to prevent the lies we have told before from being exposed. Looking at stories, movies and series, one can find many examples of this continuous process of lies; However, we may have experienced it in real life.
What happens in our brains when we lie?
The more white matter in the cortex of our brain, the more likely we are to lie. In general, 3 areas of the brain are activated when lying:
- First cortex of the neocortex Forehead lobe It suppresses the truth and designs the lie;
- The limbic part of the brain, which is responsible for anxiety, is then activated, imposing on us the stress and torment we feel from lying;
- Eventually, the temporal lobe is activated, remembering the lie and creating the mental image needed to justify it.
In addition to these three sections, we should mention the role of the anterior cortex and various other sections that have the task of preventing whipping and controlling our behavior when lying. In short, our brains are busy when we lie! On the other hand, when we tell the truth, our brain is at ease; Because the limbic part does not need to provoke the torment of our conscience and the frontal lobe is not suppressing the truth.
Facts About Lying In The Workplace
One aspect of lying that causes businesses to lose money is lying in the workplace. Employees sometimes make false excuses to escape from work; Excuses such as illness of yourself or family members, doctor’s appointment, death of acquaintances, etc. are among these lies.
The following results are based on a 2020 study of 1,000 employees in the United States:
- Men made more false excuses than women to escape work;
- 91% of people who made excuses and ran away from work were never exposed;
- On average, each person used 7 different excuses to run away from work;
- Young people working more than the elderly and experienced in this field resorted to lying;
- Only 27 percent of liars regretted their actions, and 41 percent said they were willing to do so again.
One way to prevent lying at work is to change the culture of the workplace. The most important reason that often leads employees to lie is the fear of judging others or tarnishing their image in the eyes of managers. If the work environment is intimate and safe and people are allowed to get tired and helpless at times and understand about it, then they will be less inclined to lie.
As you have read, we often do not lie because of malice or malice. We resort to lies to escape unfortunate facts and situations; Many situations that could have been avoided.
One of the books that has been published in this field and published in our country is the book “Behind the Scenes of Hypocrisy; “Why do we lie to anyone, especially to ourselves?” This book is written by Dan Ariel, a leading researcher in social sciences and behavioral economics. This book has been translated by Ramin Rambod and published by Maziar Publications. I recommend reading this book to you, dear audience.
Now, if you do not mind, tell me in what situations you usually lie. How many times have you lost your hand? Do you believe in honesty without reason? Tell us your reason.