JUN 17, 2017 7:33 AM PDT

Is lying human nature?


All good liars have beards and are ticklish only on their right feet. Does that sound right? No! It's a lie! But what is the science behind lying? Is it ingrained is us as humans to lie, even though we live in a society that so supposedly encourages honesty? Some researchers say that lying is a part of our human nature because at an age of as early as 6 months, babies will begin to lie to get what they want (usually in the form of fake crying for milk or attention). By the time we're adults, we have developed our lying capabilities so well that we are actually able to lie to ourselves, convincing ourselves through self-deception.

So how do we tell when someone is lying? Even the best liars often give away some sort of hint that they are lying, whether through their body language or their word choice. Liars will often start a claim with some sort of phrase such as "Believe me" or "To be totally honest," when in fact you should not believe them and they are not being totally honest at all! Liars also often use more extreme and formal language to deny an action, which includes the exclusion of contractions. For example, someone lying is likely to say, "I absolutely did NOT steal that book," instead of "I didn't steal that book." A liar may also make overextended eye contact (more than is normal), hold their upper body abnormally stiff, or even shake their head while saying yes. To learn more about how to detect liars, and make good lies yourself, watch the video!
About the Author
  • Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
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