A recent survey conducted by researchers from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and the University of Amsterdam found that most people tend to avoid lying, and people who do lie usually own up to it.
“The fact that participants who indicated lying often actually did lie more often in the dice test demonstrates that they were honest about their dishonesty,” says Bruno Verschuere of the University of Amsterdam. “It may be that frequent liars show more psychopathic traits and therefore have no trouble admitting to lying frequently.”
There are practical applications to the study.
“It is important to study the conditions leading people to lie, deceive, or engage in unethical conduct more broadly,” said Dr. Shaul Shalvi of Ben Gurion University’s Dept. of Psychology. “Such behaviors are rather costly from a societal perspective. Consider, for example, behaviors like lying when filing an insurance claim, reporting that the TV that was stolen from one’s apartment was just a couple inches larger than it really was. From the individual’s perspective, this seems like a minor lie. Insurance companies however, pay millions of dollars annually for such insurance ‘build-ups’,” Shalvi concludes.