Deceiving others is part of our daily life. A man says he likes the gifts received at his birthday, although they are not exactly what he wanted; the host receives compliments for its culinary talent, although the food was not too good; and a student tells her father that she finished her homework, while she is watching TV, although she didn’t even start doing her homework. Further, a boy insists that he did not take money from his mother’s purse; a smuggler tells the customs agent that he does not have anything to declare; and a criminal denies committing the crime. These are only a few examples from the almost infinite multitude of potential lies.
Lying does not necessarily require the use of words. The athlete who mimes the foot accident after a weak result and limps at the exit from the racetrack is lying without using words. Also, it is possible to lie by hiding information, although this must be intentional. The tax payers who do not intentionally declare a certain source of income in their fiscal declaration are lying, while those who forget to provide this information are not lying. A man does not lie when he accidentally forgets to mention his secretary to his wife, who went to dinner with him. However, he is lying when he does not mention her consciously.
People often tell lies I call social lies. If people told the truth all the time, discussions would become embarrassing and unreasonably impolite and social interactions, including the friendship or love ones, could drift apart. Social lies are told for psychological reasons and serve the personal and other people’s interest. They serve the personal interest because liars will be satisfied that their lies please others or because they realize that they avoid embarrassing situations or discussions by their lies. Social lies serve other people’s interest because if we heard the truth all the time, self esteem and confidence in own forces could be affected.
Aldert Vrij - Professor of Applied social psychology
Portsmouth University – Great Britain
“Detection of lie and simulated behavior: dilemmas and opportunities”- ASCR Publishing House (www.ascred.ro)