Boots WebMD Partners in Health
Return To Boots

Why do people lie?

  1 of  
Current Score:  
slide image

You're more likely to lie when:

slide image

You're more likely to lie when:

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

One study found that 60% of people lied at least once when they were talking to people they didn't know. Some lied up to 3 times during a 10 minute conversation with a stranger. Most didn't even realise they were doing it. Scientists believe it's less about trying to impress others and more about keeping up the view we have of ourselves. It's also about wanting to avoid conflict and being agreeable. 

slide image

Who lies more?

slide image

Who lies more?

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

Most research suggests men don't lie any more than women do, although one 2009 British study found men lied 6 times a day – twice as much as UK women. Scientists do agree that the sexes often have different motivations for lying. Men usually want to make themselves look better, whereas women are more likely to lie to make other people feel better. 

When are 'morning people' more likely to lie or cheat?

When are 'morning people' more likely to lie or cheat?

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

According to studies, 'morning people' who are most alert before lunchtime are more likely to lie or cheat later in the day. It appears that your moral compass can veer off course as you become more tired. So, it seems your self-control can tire out just like a muscle. Scientists did find that if you're generally a more honest person, this 'afternoon effect' is less pronounced. People who were generally less bothered or guilty about lying were likely to lie at any time of the day. 

You're more likely to lie if which of these is threatened:

You're more likely to lie if which of these is threatened:

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

If you feel your self-esteem is under threat, your most likely response is to ramp up the lies. Studies show that we care so much about how people see us, that we will fight back with deceptive measures to win back our self-esteem. 

People with which type of personality trait are more likely to tell lies?

People with which type of personality trait are more likely to tell lies?

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

It doesn't really take a study to confirm that the more manipulative you are, the more likely you are to be a liar. However, this is not because manipulators only care about themselves. It's often because they care too much about how other people see them, and they want to control the impression they make. Extroverts have more opportunities to lie, as they're often around people. They have good social skills, so don't always realise how often they tell lies to keep social interactions running smoothly.

Which of these are you more likely to lie to?

Which of these are you more likely to lie to?

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

Self-esteem is at the root of these lying episodes too. You're more interested in what your work colleague thinks of you because that's a relationship you're invested in. The stakes are higher and don't compare with someone you don't know and may never see again. 

Children are more likely to lie if:

Children are more likely to lie if:

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

All of the above factors can help turn your child into an adept little liar. Unfortunately, the teenage years may trigger more deception, when the rewards of lying may seem more appealing than the consequences. An almost impossible parental challenge is to set boundaries without being overly controlling. Bear in mind that harsh punishments can rebound on you and cause more deception. 

Animals aren't liars

Animals aren't liars

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

They may look innocent but research suggests that chimpanzees and other primates may have been the original liars. It's thought that the ability to purposely deceive evolved in order to get food, sex or to evade punishment. Lies are more common in animals that co-operate with each other. One famous example involves a gorilla called Koko who can use sign language. After breaking a sink, she used sign language to blame it on her new friend - an innocent kitten called Kate.

People with which characteristics are more likely to catch a liar:

People with which characteristics are more likely to catch a liar:

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

It's not clear why but it's those with a trusting nature who are better lie detectors. Instead of being more gullible because they tend to give people the benefit of the doubt, research showed these types were more adept at spotting liars. One theory is that less trusting people aren't as socially engaged and don't develop the skills necessary to identify someone who is lying. 

Experts can tell when someone is lying by monitoring:

Experts can tell when someone is lying by monitoring:

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

So far, there's no way to definitively tell if someone is lying. Some research is focused on facial and body clues, such as pressing of lips, or pupil dilation, but evidence is mixed and more research is needed. Experts do know that all kinds of things can affect a liar's behaviour, including:

  • The type of lie
  • The amount of time to prepare a lie
  • How much the liar believes his or her own ability to lie.

What does a polygraph machine measure?

What does a polygraph machine measure?

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

A polygraph, also known as a lie detector, measures all of the above, as well as your heart rate and how well your skin conducts electricity. These bodily signs usually increase if someone is under stress. Truthfully though, the polygraph can't detect lies. Instead, it relies on measuring the signs of stress that are considered to be triggered by lying. 

Which typically takes more time and effort?

Which typically takes more time and effort?

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

Telling the truth, for most of us, is the natural, better instinct. Lying can be hard. It's an effort to make a decision to lie, concoct a plausible story, keep track of our lies, and finally, avoid spilling the beans.

You may be a pathological liar if you:

You may be a pathological liar if you:

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

If you keep telling lies just for the sake of it, with no obvious benefit to yourself, you may well be a pathological liar. This mental issue is like an addiction and can make you lose your ability for rational judgment. Pathological lying is different from compulsive lying, which is usually devoid of guilt, and may be the result of low self-esteem. Someone who lies just because it excites them, or they think it's fun, fits the pattern of a sociopath. 

Telling lies can lead to:

Telling lies can lead to:

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

Beware telling lies, because it can be a slippery slope. Recent research shows just small untruths can snowball out of control and lead to bigger, even criminal deception. Scans show that your brain adjusts when you tell a 'porky pie', making you more untrustworthy as time goes on. People charged with the likes of tax evasion and sport doping have reported it all began with one small act of dishonesty.

Your Score:   You correctly answered   out of   questions.
Your Score:   You correctly answered   out of   questions.
results image

I'm not lying to you. You did well!

Pretty good but I'm sure you detected some mistakes. Try again.

Don't lie to yourself. You know you can find out the truth and do better.

Mind, body & soul newsletter

Look after your health
and wellbeing.
Sign Up

Popular slideshows & tools on BootsWebMD

woman_holding_head_in_pain
How to help headache pain
smiling baby
Causes and remedies
man holding sore neck
16 tips when you have a lot of weight to lose
mother and child
Caring for a baby with cows' milk allergy
woman looking at pregnancy test
Is your body ready for pregnancy?
man holding sore neck
8 signs you're headed for menopause
couple makigh salad
Nutrition for over 50s
bain illustration
Best foods for your brain
rash on skin
Top eczema triggers to avoid
rubber duckie
Hidden allergy hotspots in homes
egg in cup
Surprising things that can harm your liver