Is Lying Ever Justifiable?

What to Consider when Thinking about Lying

The terrorist who lies to get on board an airplane believes his lie is justifiable. He doesn’t share values with those to whom he lies, in fact he despises them. The undercover vice squad officer, drug enforcement agent, or counter-intelligence agent, are living lies. They believe their lies are righteous, as does our government. Spies who are foreign nationals pretending … Read More

Why People Lie

Reasons for lying

March, 2009 Avoiding Punishment “I thought I was only going 55 miles an hour officer” claims the driver speeding at 70 mph. “My wristwatch stopped so I had no idea that I got home 2 hours after my curfew”, says the teenager. Avoiding punishment is the most frequent reason people tell serious lies, regardless of their age, whether it be … Read More

Signs of Lying

Articles About Lying

February 28, 2018 Excerpts taken from Dr. Paul Ekman’s scientific autobiography, “Nonverbal Messages: Cracking the Code” (p. 237-239) When is it a lie? Many observable signs of lying have been identified, but they are not always shown by everyone. Their absence does not mean a person is truthful, but their presence, especially when there are multiple different types of signs … Read More

Verbal Deceit

Why liars choose their words carefully

Excerpt from Telling Lies by Paul Ekman, PhD What liars pay attention to When lying, people usually do not monitor, control, and attempt to disguise all of their behavior; they probably couldn’t even if they wanted to. Instead, we tend to participate in verbal deceit, showing the most concern about choice of words. Liars censor what they say, carefully concealing messages … Read More

Learning to Lie

From "Why Kids Lie" by Dr. Paul Ekman (pp. 86-89)

August 27, 2018 Developing the Ability to Lie Many of the abilities that develop with age-abilities necessary for children to take increasing responsibility for themselves — also allow them to be more successful if they choose to lie. Abraham Lincoln is reputed to have said that he didn’t have a good enough memory to lie. But not all lies require … Read More

Why Do People Lie?

9 Motives for Telling Lies

Original excerpt from “Telling Lies” (p. 329-330) September 26, 2018 Reading between the lies Why do people lie? Such a simple question should come with a simple answer (but doesn’t, unfortunately). There are indications, however, that most of us share the same the motives for telling lies. Numbers don’t lie My data collected during interviews with children and from questionnaires completed by adults suggests that telling … Read More

Types of Lying

Different Types of Lying

Original excerpt from “Telling Lies” (pp. 329-330) October 31, 2018 What makes a lie a lie and what distinguishes a lie from another form of untruth? Dr. Ekman takes a look at the role of memory, interpretation, intention and belief in understanding deception. Failure to Remember The failure to remember is not a lie, although liars will often try to excuse … Read More

My Six Discoveries

One scientist. Six discoveries. Fifty-five years in the making.

August 1, 2017 Number 1: Nonverbal behaviors provide accurate information. And it is not obscure; most people can derive at least some of that information with no trouble. It may be surprising now, but the general consensus when I started my research was that judgments based on facial expression and bodily movements were at best a source of stereotypes. Clinicians … Read More

Are there honest liars?

The truth about being deceitful

Are all liars being deceitful? Don’t you have to be one or the other: honest or dishonest, a liar or a truthful person? As I see it, no. An honest liar doesn’t claim to be telling the truth and, therefore, can justifiably reject later accusations of being deceitful. Unfortunately, such a painfully simple concept rarely occurs in the real world. … Read More