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Do you know how to detect a liar? The 8 types of lies

Do you know how to detect a liar? The 8 types of lies

May 6, 2021

We all know the famous Disney character called Pinocchio , who grew his nose every time he lied. Well, more than one would have to stretch this organ of the respiratory system, because we lie more than we think.

That seems to indicate a study published in the book "Liespotting: Proven Techniques to Detect Deception" from the author Pamela Meyer. As this text explains, people usually lie between 10 and 200 times a day, since we usually say parts of the truth . In other words, we say only those phrases that people want to hear, which are considered socially acceptable.

Also, lying is more frequent when we have just met someone new. In another book called "The liar in your life", the professor of Psychology at the University of Massachusetts, Robert Feldman, explains that: "We lie between two and three times in the first 10 minutes of the first conversation with someone we have just met." How is this explained? According to Feldman, lying is an automatic mechanism of self-esteem protection that is activated when we meet someone for the first time .


The "Pinocchio Effect" to detect lies

But the relationship between the lies and the nose, which characterizes the famous Disney character, is not only science fiction. A research of the Department of Experimental Psychology of the University of Granada has discovered that the temperature of our face increases when we lie, especially in the area of ​​the nose. This is what is known as the "Pinocchio Effect". To carry out their study, they used thermography: a technique that detects body temperature .

The truth is that human beings are detectors of very bad lies. This is confirmed by a study by Brigham Young University in the United States, which concludes that when we have a person in front of us, we only realize that the other is cheating us between 54% and 56% of the time. And if it's hard to catch a liar in person, it's harder to catch him when we talk on WhatsApp.


If you want to know some tricks to interpret WhatsApp messages, you can read our article: "How can I know if they lie to me on WhatsApp?"

The 8 types of lies

As we see, we've all lied at some time. But are all lies the same? Certainly not. There are lies that are used not to hurt someone, lies that are used to get something and lies that are the result of exaggeration. Then we present you the different types of lies , in a practical guide that can be useful to be preventative to your appointments and in your daily life.

1. Pious Lies

We could say that the pious lies are lies that are justified and that, for many, are forgivable . This is because the pious lies have a benevolent intention. For example, if someone gives us something that for them may be special, but you do not like it and, besides, you know you will not use it in your life. Surely you lie to him and tell him that you loved his gift. Basically, in this example, the lie is used to not hurt the feelings of another person.


2. Broken promises

The broken promises they are a failure to maintain a previously spoken commitment , and they are characterized because there is a kind of implicit contract. Broken promises can be especially harmful when the person who made the promise had no intention of keeping his word from the beginning, because they generate hope in the other person.

At times, a pious lie can also be a broken promise. For example, if a girl you have asked to go for a drink, accept your invitation to be well. But then, when the time comes, it gives you a sit-down because at no time did you intend to go out with you. That is, he only did it so that you would not feel bad at that moment and could get out of that compromised situation.

3. Intentional or instrumental lies

The intentional or instrumental lies they do not have benevolent character, but quite the opposite: they look for the own interest . This type of lies have the characteristic that they are used to get something, for example, a job.

There are many people who have lied in the curriculum vitae to get a job. As you see, these lies do not have to have a malicious intention. Although, in some cases, people can use them to harm another individual.

4. The lies towards oneself (self-deception)

These types of lies are unconscious and have to do with our beliefs, because it is hard for us to question them.Also, sometimes, it is difficult for us to accept reality and it is easier to lie to ourselves to avoid the fear of uncertainty, because we do not have to leave the comfort zone.

Cognitive dissonance is one of the most frequent causes of self-deception . A classic example of this phenomenon is that of smokers. They know that smoking can cause cancer, respiratory problems, chronic fatigue and even death. Even so, the vast majority continues to smoke because they self-deceive with phrases such as: "What is the use of living a lot if you can not enjoy life?"

5. The rumors

The rumors have to do, more than with the intention, with the effect produced by a lie. One of its features is that several people participate in the rumors. A rumor is an information whose veracity is in doubt or can not be corroborated, because it is not known with certainty if it is true . Someone can intentionally spread a rumor although it does not have to have a basic intention.

For example, a man named Antonio, saw a co-worker leave his boss's office with a very friendly attitude and they gave each other a hug. Surprised, and as his boss is not exactly the friendliest person in the world, he runs to tell another partner (Juan). Juan, who has not seen the event, but because of Antonio's reaction thinks there is something serious between the boss and the employee, the next morning is told by another roommate. The latter tells it to another partner, who does the same until the entire office knows it. The last person who reports it has received the distorted information, and the details about what happened have been exaggerated in such a way that there really seems to be a romantic relationship between both actors.

The rumors can cause a lot of damage, and in fact, it was one of the strategies used by the Nazis for the German population to reject the Jews during World War II.

6. Exaggeration

Surely you've ever crossed paths with someone who tends to exaggerate everything he says. For example, he has linked with many girls when in reality he has only succeeded with one. Well, exaggeration is not more than that. They are usually stories that have something true, but are often exaggerated to impress others .

In addition to the stories in which lies are added, there are also lies by omission, characterized because the person does not invent the story, but omits relevant data.

7. Plagiarism

The plagiarism refers not only to lying, but also to theft . It consists of copying the work of another. Plagiarism is a serious act and can have legal consequences. Some students have suspended subjects for this, and some professional writers have been denounced for copying works by other individuals. In addition, in plagiarism there is voluntariness, it is an act of bad faith. That is why it is one of the most reproachful lies, because it combines both the appropriation of a work that is not proper as the idol.

8. Compulsive Lies

The compulsive lies are the lies that compulsive liars perform over and over again . They are usually caused by a serious problem (for example, low self-esteem) so these people usually require attention. In fact, a compulsive liar may have difficulty stopping his urge to lie, and they often tell lies even when it is easier to tell the truth.

Know the real case of a compulsive liar in our article: "Psychoanalyzed compulsive liar: a real case"

5 Foolproof Ways to Spot a Liar (May 2021).


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