Why Do We Lie? 8 Motives Behind Lying


To try and protect other people’s emotions, women are more inclined to make altruistic lies, whereas males tend to lie about themselves. It was discovered that guys lie more frequently in order to impress women. In a normal discussion between two males, there are almost eight times as many self-centered falsehoods as there are lies about others. In around a fourth of the social interactions lasting 10 minutes or longer, both men and women lie.

We now live in a society where lying has become pretty normal. Indeed, there are already groups dedicated to fact-checking political speeches and press releases in order to expose the numerous fabrications that are frequently given.

Related: Letting Go of Past Attachments

The motives for many lying are complex. It’s sometimes to keep the liar from being punished or to keep someone else from being punished. The lie might be spoken to escape embarrassment, to conceal an unpleasant circumstance, or just to make others think less of the person who told it. While such lying isn’t respectable, it’s easy to see why it happens.

Here are some motives behind lying:

Motives to lie #1

To stay out of trouble.

This is the most often cited reason for deception (by both children and adults). It’s worth noting that there were no significant differences between lying to escape punishment for a deliberate misdeed and lying to avoid punishment for an honest mistake.

Motives to lie #2

To get a prize that would otherwise be difficult to obtain.

Both children and adults cite this as the second most prevalent reason. For example, feigning employment experience at a job interview to enhance your chances of being hired is an example of this.

Motives to lie #3

To keep someone else from being penalized.

Motive does not change with purpose, just as it does not change with lying to escape personal penalty. This has happened to us with coworkers, friends, relatives, and even strangers!

Related: Self-Control: Should Children Master It?

Motives to lie #4

To defend oneself against the prospect of bodily injury.

This is not the same as being punished, because the threat of damage is not for a wrongdoing. A youngster alone at home may inform a stranger at the door that his father is sleeping and that he should return later.

Motives to lie #5

To gain other people’s admiration.

Lying to get popularity can range from telling “small white lies” to embellishing a narrative to developing a whole new (created) identity.

Motives to lie #6

To escape out of a socially uncomfortable position.

For example, pretending to have a babysitting problem to get out of a boring party, or stopping a phone conversation by stating there is someone at the door are examples of how lying may seem when motivated by this.

Motives to lie #7

In order to prevent shame.

The youngster who says the wet seat was caused by water spilling rather than her wet trousers is an example of a child who did not fear punishment but rather humiliation.

Motives to lie #8

To keep one’s privacy without disclosing it to others.

For example, the couple who pretends to have eloped because the expense of a wedding was out of their budget while, in truth, they were trying to avoid having to include their relatives.

Controlling the knowledge that the target possesses allows you to exert power over them. This is perhaps the most deadly incentive for lying, as exemplified by Hitler. It would be wonderful if we could trust anything we are told, whether it comes from a child with a shattered vase or a politician at a political rally. But that isn’t going to happen, so it’s necessary for all of us to dig a bit deeper now and again to attempt to uncover the truth.

When lying, the liar’s face typically comprises two things: what he or she wants to display and what he or she wants to hide. These suppressed emotions emerge as a micro expression, a short involuntary facial expression that reveals real emotion. Although a single micro expression does not provide solid proof of lying, they are one of the most effective nonverbal actions to watch for whether someone is lying.

You can find how to read micro expression here.


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