How to Tell a Lie

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When we lie, it stimulates three main sections of our brains. Lying activates the frontal lobe for its role in the truth-suppressing process, the limbic system due to the anxiety that comes with deception, and the temporal lobe because it's responsible for retrieving memories and creating mental imagery. It's like a sophisticated team of con men all working together inside of your head. Pretty comforting, no? Take a look a this infographic to see more facts and figures about lying at work, school and the poker table, all taken from psychology journals and surveys.

Why Do People Lie?

Though we may never stop lying, the way we're doing it is certainly changing. Image: Flickr, Expressmonorail. A lie is an assertion that is believed to be false, typically used with the purpose of deceiving someone. A person who communicates a lie may be termed a liar. Lies may serve a variety of instrumental, interpersonal, or psychological functions for the individuals who use them.

Generally, the term "lie" carries a negative connotation, and depending on the context a person who communicates a lie may be subject to social, legal, religious, or criminal sanctions.

There appears to be no comprehensive and scholarly taxonomy of lies even though, or perhaps because, lies are a linguistic universal. As a corollary it has also been posited that another linguistic universal is that there is no sentence or story that cannot be interpreted as a lie. The proof is to preface the sentence or story with the phrase "it is a lie that" and follow that with a made up, but verifiable, explanation of why that sentence or story is a lie. This can be convincingly done in any natural language.

A barefaced or bald-faced lie is one that is obviously a lie to those hearing it.


  1. Genesi (Timecrime Narrativa) (Italian Edition).
  2. "to tell a lie" translation into German.
  3. The Healers Prophecy.
  4. Mohammed was a Christian.
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A big lie is one that attempts to trick the victim into believing something major, which will likely be contradicted by some information the victim already possesses, or by their common sense. When the lie is of sufficient magnitude it may succeed, due to the victim's reluctance to believe that an untruth on such a grand scale would indeed be concocted. A black lie is what is known as a lie.

It is an anti-social behavior where the liar benefits from deceiving and the listener or some other group is hurt. A blue lie is assessd by some as between a white lie and a black lie; as such, it is simultaneously an example of pro-social and anti-social behavior. A blue lie is intended to help one's group, thus pro-social; but it does so by damaging others through deceit, thus anti-social. The color blue is said to be a reference to its purported use by police. To bluff is to pretend to have a capability or intention one does not possess. For instance, a gamblers who deceive other players into thinking they have different cards to those they really hold, or athletes who hint they will move left and then dodges right is not considered to be lying also known as a feint or juke.

In these situations, deception is acceptable and is commonly expected as a tactic. Bullshit does not necessarily have to be a complete fabrication. While a lie is related by a speaker who believes what is said is false, bullshit is offered by a speaker who does not care whether what is said is true because the speaker is more concerned with giving the hearer some impression. Thus bullshit may be either true or false, but demonstrates a lack of concern for the truth that is likely to lead to falsehoods.

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For example, to claim that a premeditated lie was really "only" an emergency lie, or to claim that a self-serving lie was really "only" a white lie or noble lie. This should not be confused with confirmation bias in which the deceiver is deceiving themselves.

Defamation is the communication of a false statement that harms the reputation of an individual person, business, product, group, government, religion, or nation. To deflect is to avoid the subject that the lie is about, not giving attention to the lie. When attention is given to the subject the lie is based around, deflectors ignore or refuse to respond. Skillful deflectors are passive-aggressive, who when confronted with the subject choose to ignore and not respond.

Disinformation is intentionally false or misleading information that is spread in a calculated way to deceive target audiences. An exaggeration occurs when the most fundamental aspects of a statement are true, but only to a certain degree. It also is seen as "stretching the truth" or making something appear more powerful, meaningful, or real than it is. Saying that someone devoured most of something when they only ate half would be considered an exaggeration.

An exaggeration might be easily found to be a hyperbole where a person's statement i. Fake news is supposed to be a type of yellow journalism that consists of deliberate misinformation or hoaxes spread via traditional print and broadcast news media or online social media. A fib is a lie that is easy to forgive due to its subject being a trivial matter; for example, a child may tell a fib by claiming that the family dog broke a household vase, when the child was the one who broke it.

Fraud refers to the act of inducing another person or people to believe a lie in order to secure material or financial gain for the liar. Depending on the context, fraud may subject the liar to civil or criminal penalties. A half-truth is a deceptive statement that includes some element of truth. The statement might be partly true, the statement may be totally true, but only part of the whole truth, or it may employ some deceptive element, such as improper punctuation or double meaning, especially if the intent is to deceive, evade , blame , or misrepresent the truth.

An honest lie or confabulation may be identified by verbal statements or actions that inaccurately describe the history, background, and present situations. There is generally no intent to misinform and the individual is unaware that their information is false. Because of this, it is not technically a lie at all since, by definition, there must be an intent to deceive for the statement to be considered a lie. Jocose lies are lies meant in jest , intended to be understood as such by all present parties.

Teasing and irony are examples. A more elaborate instance is seen in some storytelling traditions, where the storyteller's insistence that the story is the absolute truth, despite all evidence to the contrary i. There is debate about whether these are "real" lies, and different philosophers hold different views. The winner in was Hugh Lupton.

2. Suspicious expressions

Lie-to-children is a phrase that describes a simplified explanation of technical or complex subjects as a teaching method for children and laypeople. While lies-to-children are useful in teaching complex subjects to people who are new to the concepts discussed, they can promote the creation of misconceptions among the people who listen to them. The phrase has been incorporated by academics within the fields of biology , evolution , bioinformatics , and the social sciences. Media use of the term has extended to publications including The Conversation and Forbes.

Lying by omission , also known as a continuing misrepresentation or quote mining , occurs when an important fact is left out in order to foster a misconception. Lying by omission includes the failure to correct pre-existing misconceptions. For example, when the seller of a car declares it has been serviced regularly, but does not mention that a fault was reported during the last service, the seller lies by omission.

It may be compared to dissimulation. An omission is when a person tells most of the truth, but leaves out a few key facts that therefore, completely obscures the truth. Lying in trade occurs when the seller of a product or service may advertise untrue facts about the product or service in order to gain sales, especially by competitive advantage. Many countries and states have enacted consumer protection laws intended to combat such fraud.

10 Simple Ways to Tell If Someone Is Lying to You

A memory hole is a mechanism for the alteration or disappearance of inconvenient or embarrassing documents, photographs, transcripts, or other records, such as from a website or other archive, particularly as part of an attempt to give the impression that something never happened. Minimization is the opposite of exaggeration. It is a type of deception [21] involving denial coupled with rationalization in situations where complete denial is implausible. A noble lie , which also could be called a strategic untruth, is one that normally would cause discord if uncovered, but offers some benefit to the liar and assists in an orderly society, therefore, potentially being beneficial to others.

It is often told to maintain law, order, and safety.

You can tell someone's lying to you by watching their face — here are 12 dead giveaways

In psychiatry , pathological lying also called compulsive lying, pseudologia fantastica, and mythomania is a behavior of habitual or compulsive lying. Perjury is the act of lying or making verifiably false statements on a material matter under oath or affirmation in a court of law , or in any of various sworn statements in writing. Perjury is a crime , because the witness has sworn to tell the truth and, for the credibility of the court to remain intact, witness testimony must be relied on as truthful.

A polite lie is a lie that a politeness standard requires, and that usually is known to be untrue by both parties. Whether such lies are acceptable is heavily dependent on culture. A common polite lie in international etiquette may be to decline invitations because of "scheduling difficulties". Similarly, the butler lie is a small lie that usually is sent electronically and is used to terminate conversations or to save face.

Puffery is an exaggerated claim typically found in advertising and publicity announcements, such as "the highest quality at the lowest price", or "always votes in the best interest of all the people". The phrase " speaking with a forked tongue " means to deliberately say one thing and mean another or, to be hypocritical, or act in a duplicitous manner. A weasel word is an informal term [29] for words and phrases aimed at creating an impression that a specific or meaningful statement has been made, when in fact only a vague or ambiguous claim has been communicated, enabling the specific meaning to be denied if the statement is challenged.

A more formal term is equivocation. A white lie is a minor lie which could be considered harmless, or even beneficial, in the long term. It sometimes is used to shield someone from a hurtful or emotionally-damaging truth, especially when not knowing the truth is deemed by the liar as completely harmless. See "black lie" and "blue lie" above. Once a lie has been told, there can be two alternative consequences: it may be discovered or remain undiscovered.

Under some circumstances, discovery of a lie may discredit other statements by the same speaker and may lead to social or legal sanctions against the speaker, such as ostracizing or conviction for perjury. Hannah Arendt spoke about extraordinary cases in which an entire society is being lied to consistently. She said that the consequences of such lying are "not that you believe the lies, but rather that nobody believes anything any longer. This is because lies, by their very nature, have to be changed, and a lying government has constantly to rewrite its own history.

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