Fascinating study reveals the most common thing that people lie about – and it’s not household chores

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Written By Rivera Claudia

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  • Researchers from the Netherlands looked at the impacts of lying on the liar
  • They found that people are most likely to lie about themselves and not others
  • READ MORE: Honesty makes you happier and healthier, studies show

The most common lies people tell are ones that make them look better in front others, a study has revealed.

This may include lying about expertise in a job interview or altering an anecdote to make yourself look braver or funnier.

Surprisingly, lies to protect other people – such as telling a person their work is good when it isn’t – are not told particularly often.

Researchers from the University of Twente in the Netherlands conducted four experiments to evaluate the psychological effects of lying.

In one, they asked 285 volunteers aged 18-75 to keep track of all their lies for a day.

They found that 22 percent of participants told a self-centered lie – mostly to inflate their successes or achievements. 

The most common thing that people lie about isn’t household chores, but themselves, a study has revealed

Most of the sample said they did not lie; 70 percent.

Meanwhile, a small minority – only eight percent – said they told lies related to other people, usually to protect someone else’s feelings.

In another of the experiments, volunteers had to say how they would answer a set of difficult questions that people often lie about; such as their age, and if they liked a gift a friend had bought when they didn’t.

The participants had to say if they lied about or told the truth.

Participants’ self-esteem, nervousness, regret, discomfort, and unhappiness were then measured using questionnaires.

Results showed that 46 percent of volunteers admitted they’d lie in the above situations.

The study, published in the British Journal of Social Psychology, found that those who lied had significantly lower self-esteem and more negative feelings than those who told the truth.

In the next experiment, volunteers had to disclose situations in which they’d lied or decided to tell the truth.

Researchers monitored negative and positive emotions while they spoke about the event.

 The results were the same: participants who remembered scenarios where they had lied had lower self-esteem and fewer positive emotions than those who remembered truth-telling scenarios.

In the final test, participants tracked their lying habits and self-esteem for five days. 

Some 22 percent of people reported they had lied every day, while 19 percent said they did not lie at all.

The results showed that when someone told a lie, their self-esteem was lower than on the previous day, which suggests that people who lie do not generally have low self-esteem, but the act of lying decreases self-esteem.

The Netherlands


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