Every one lies at least once in their lifetime, it is a basic human nature. Sometimes we tell the biggest lies to the people we love the most. A professor of psychology at Brandeis University says, “Lying has long been a part of everyday life. We couldn’t get through the day without being deceptive.”

In 1996 a study was conducted by DePaulo and her colleagues, which involved 147 people between the ages of 18-71 years. They were asked to maintain a diary and write their everyday falsehood they told for a week. It was found that college students usually lie to their mothers in one out of two conversations. Researchers do not include lies that are offered for psychological satisfaction like “I am fine” or “no problem at all”. General lies include those that deliberately lead to false impression or misleads.

Lying in romantic relationships is very common. 85% of the couples that were interviewed during a college study reported that one or both partners had lied to each other about their past relationships. It was found that marriage is somehow a protection against deception. Spouses lie to each other only 10% of the times in their daily conversation.

Some lies lead to quarrels in relationships while there are some lies that usually help people to get along with others in day to day life. Some people lie to benefit another person like those who pretend to like someone more than they actually do, for example- “your cupcakes are the best ever”.

Another study conducted on these kinds of ‘sweet little lies’ resulted that different cultures have different importance of these lies. Most of the elderly citizens in Korea believe that if someone is diagnosed with cancer they should be told the truth about their life. Whereas nearly 90% of Americans of Europe and Africa feel that terminally ill should be confronted with the truth.

Although all the sexes lie almost with equal frequency but it was found that women are most likely to stretch their truth in order to protect the feelings of others.

Another study was done to find out if same sex friends could detect each other’s lies or not. It was conducted twice on same subjects with gap of 6 months. The results were such that women had become slightly better at detecting lies whereas men did not show any improvement. The conclusion here was that women are particularly god at learning and hence could read their friend’s mind more accurately as friendship deepens.


Leonard Saxe belies that anyone under pressure or if given incentive will lie, but a study published in Journal of Personality and Social Psychology reports that frequent liars are generally manipulative and also they lie because they are more concerned with the impression they make on others. Some personality traits like self-confidence and physical traits like attractiveness are linked with individual’s skills at lying when under pressure.

Lies can also be detected by other methods instead of a polygraph like tracking speech hesitation or changes in vocal speech.

Dan Ariely has told a very amusing story to explain dishonesty:

“God goes to Sarah and says, “you are going to have a child.” Sarah laughs and responds, “How can I have a child when my husband is so old?” God then goes to Abraham and tells, “You are going to have a child.” Abraham responds, “What did Sarah say?” And God lies: “Sarah wondered how [she can] have a child when she is so old.”

Moral of the story: It’s okay to lie for peace at home.

He further adds that if we think about it, this is what dishonesty is all about.