In any conversation, people can become untruthful in their statements for many reasons. One of them could be an extreme fear of the consequences of being truthful. Another common reason people lie is to protect others.
Simply defined, a lie as any untruthful or deceptive statement that can create a false impression on those receiving the statement. A deception is an act of misleading, usually accompanied by lying. Both are especially concerning when they are uttered with the intent to deceive or give an erroneous or misleading impression.
Theories About Lying
These theories attempt to explain why people lie.
Four Factor Model
This theory states that there are four underlying mechanisms at work when people tell lies:
- Arousal Lying can lead to anxiety and arousal as a result of either cognitive dissonance or fear of being caught.
- Behavior Control Humans tend to keep one’s body language under control so as not to give anything away.
- Emotion When people lie, their emotions change. This can be manifested as duping delight, where the liar secretly rejoices at their perceived success, or guilt.
- Thinking When lying, people tend to try and think about their statements to ensure coherence in the falsehoods told. As a result, liars tends to speak slowly and with more pauses. Additionally, falsities tend to be generalities to so that the liar can avoid being bogged down by specifics.
Information Manipulation Theory
When attempting to persuade or deceive, a person violates one of the four universal maxims of conversation:
- Quantity The information provided will be complete and without omission.
- Quality The information provided will be accurate and true.
- Relation The information provided will be relevant to the conversation.
- Manner The information provided will be delivered in a manner that others can understand.
Interpersonal Deception Theory
Lying is said to occur in a dynamic interaction in which a liar and the listener dance around each other, changing their thoughts in response to each other’s movements. The following are examples of a liar’s behavior:
- Manipulating Information Using broad generalizations and speaking about other people so that the liar can separate themselves from the lie in case the falsehood is discovered
- Strategic Behavior Control Restraining signals, such as facial expressions and body movements, that might indicate deception
- Image Management Smiling and nodding more frequently during conversations
This refers to the healing effect that occurs when a patient is provided with insufficient treatment. The positive effect appears to come from the patient’s belief that the treatment will be effective.
Alternative medicines, ranging from acupuncture and homeopathy, have been thought to work primarily due to the placebo effect. Quack medicines or snake oil from charlatans also rely on this effect for their supposed healing properties.
Physicians are aware that this effect happens yet they only employ it when no other option is available as it raises an ethical quandary due to the fact that it entails deception.
When we say “lie detection,” we do not automatically mean the polygraph. Before the first part of the polygraph was even invented, people were already making up ways through which lies may be detected.
Lie detection are simply methods through which deception may be detected. This can range from practical techniques of observation, all the way through the use of the polygraph instrument.
Note, however, that the polygraph machine is not a “lie detector.” Most people call it that, but it is a misnomer since the machine does not detect deception. Instead, it records physiological changes in the subject’s body by measuring blood pressure, pulse rate, etc. Interpreting whether these changes mean that the subject is lying is still up for analysis by the examiner or the computer.