Why Do We Lie?

How Much Do We Lie?

Whether you can admit it or not, you are probably a liar. According to the Texarkana Gazette, research from the University of Massachusetts says that: “60% of adults can’t make it through a simple 10-minute conversation without telling at least one lie,” 

People lie in almost every situation—simple conversations, job interviews, phone calls, etc. According to newscientist.com, Jeff Hancock of Cornell University found that lies made up 14% of emails, 21% of instant messages, and a whopping 37% of phone calls. 

Hancock also found that Lying has been shown to start as early as three years old. According to Newport Academy, an American mental health treatment program for teens and young adults, teens lie more than any other age group. Teens tell around five lies daily. 

At Longfellow, students revealed that 100% of the 25 students polled had told a lie of some sort in the last 24 hours. Sometimes it’s pretty easy to tell when someone is lying, but when they are smart about it, revealing untruthfulness can be difficult.

How Can We Tell?

While it may be difficult, there are some scientifically proven ways to make it easy to tell if someone is being untrustworthy. Dr. Julia Blasey, the school psychologist, says that people tend to avoid eye contact when lying and look down and to the side. She explained that this makes lying easier because “they aren’t looking someone in the eye.”

Also, according to Dr. Blasey, fidgeting can be a big tell; maybe twirling their hair, cracking their knuckles, and other small movements. So if you notice that people are doing these small movements, they may be lying. However, you also should pay attention to their words. 

If you repeat words or use unnatural pausing, it can be easy to tell, according to Marie Belsten, Ph.D.  She wrote an article for Thrive Global, a wellness website saying that filler words and sounds like “ums” and “ers,” coughing or clearing your throat, and sudden flattery or hostility can be an obvious tell. 

Why Do We Lie?

Everyone lies. There has not been a single human who has never told a lie, and there never will be. There are many motives for lying; however, the causes of lying have been narrowed down to a few reasons. 

“[Lying] often go[es] back to kids wanting to please their parents but also not wanting to get in trouble,” said Dr. Blasey. She also believes that social dynamics can lead to more lying. “Whereas once you’re an adult, you’re more on your own, and you don’t have to answer to more people.” 

The older you get, the more you understand the consequence of your actions; therefore, you are more truthful. 

“There are less situations to lie, but adults definitely do still lie. I think lying about stuff in the workplace is probably one of the more common things where it happens for adults, like ‘I’m sick this morning,’” said Dr. Blasey. Overall, why we lie really comes down to three major reasons:

  1. Low Self Esteem or Past Trauma
  2. To Avoid Consequences 
  3. Fear of Not Living Up to Expectations

You are probably a liar. It doesn’t matter your background, your age, or your motive. Lying is a human trait and an unavoidable part of life. While we should all strive to be as truthful as possible, inevitably, you will lie at one point or another.