We all lie, scientists say, but politicians even more so
“Deception starts early.
Children learn to lie at an average of about 3 years old, often when they realize that other people don’t know what they are thinking, said Kang Lee, a professor at the University of Toronto.
He has done extensive research on children and lying. Lee set up an experiment in a video-monitored room and would tell children there’s a toy they can have that’s behind them, but they can only get it if they don’t peek. Then the adult is called out of the room, returns a minute later and asks if they peeked.
At age 2, only 30 percent lie, Lee said. At age 3, half do. By 5 or 6, 90 percent of the kids lie and Lee said he worries about the 10 percent who don’t. This is universal, Lee said.
A little later, ‘we explicitly teach our kids to tell white lies,’ with parental coaching about things like saying how much they love gifts from grandma, and it’s a lesson most of them only get around age 6 or older, Lee said.
In 1996, DePaulo, author of ‘The Hows and Whys of Lies,’ put recorders on students for a week and found they lied, on average, in every third conversation of 10 minutes or more. For adults, it was once every five conversations. …
The problem is there are many shades of truth-bending. Experts split on whether to count white lies — what psychologist and political scientist Stanley Renshon calls ‘social lubrication’ that makes civilized operate. When your spouse tells you that you don’t look fat in that outfit when you do, does it really do any harm?
‘There’s a difference between white lies and real lies,’ Renshon said.
Some lies, said Schweitzer, ‘fall under politeness norms and are not very harmful. There are other lies that are self-interested and those are the ones that are really harmful. Those are the ones that harm relationships, harm trust.'”
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