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However, of the most common motives for telling lies, avoiding punishment is the primary motivator for both children and adults. Other typical reasons include protecting ourselves or others from harm, maintaining privacy, and avoiding embarrassment, to name a few.
Learning to spot micro expressions is an important key to detecting deception as micro expressions often reveal hidden emotions. Avoiding punishment is the most frequent reason people tell serious lies, regardless of their age, whether it be to avoid the speeding ticket or being grounded.
In serious lies there is a threat of ificant damage if the lie is discovered: loss of freedom, money, job, relationship, reputation, or even life itself. It is only in such serious lies, in which the liar would be punished if detected, that lies are detectable from demeanor — facial expression, body movements, gaze, voice, or words.
The threat imposes an emotional load, generating involuntary changes that can betray the lie. In serious lies the falsehood is usually told to conceal the reward or benefit the liar obtained by breaking a rule or explicit expectation.
The curfew violator was able to stay longer at the party; the speeding driver is rushing because he pushed the snooze button when the alarm went off. In each of these examples, the rule breaker decides before breaking a rule that he or she will if questioned lie to cover the cheating.
Sometimes the reward could have been achieved — a high mark on an exam — without cheating but not as easily, it would have taken more effort hours of study in this example. Protecting someone else from harm is the next most important reason why people tell serious lies.
It is not certain whether society approves of these lies. I lied i want you to call policemen refuse to testify against a fellow officer they know has broken the law, we respect their motives but many people believe they should be truthful. Yet the terms we use — rat, fink, snitch — are derogatory.
Anonymous call-in lines exist so those who volunteer information can avoid any loss of reputation or danger by informing. Do we have different standards for people who take the initiative to inform as compared to those who inform when directly asked to reveal information? To protect yourself from being harmed even when you have not broken any rule is still another motive. Some lies are told to win admiration from others.
Boasting about something untrue is an obvious instance. It is common in children, some adolescents, and even adults. If discovered it harms the reputation of the boaster, but not much more than that. Claiming falsely to have earned money for investors moves into the criminal realm. To maintain privacy, without asserting that right, is another reason why people may lie. Another topic I will return to in my newsletter about trust. Some people lie for the sheer thrill of getting away with it, testing their unsuspected power. Many children will at some point lie to their parents simply to see if they can do it.
Some people do this all the time enjoying the power they obtain in controlling the information available to the target. Avoiding embarrassment is still I lied i want you to call motive for some serious and many trivial lies. The child who claims the wet seat resulted from spilling a glass of water, not from wetting her pants is an example, if the child did not fear punishment for her failure, just embarrassment.
Avoiding embarrassment is relevant to many less serious lies that come under the rubric of lies-of-everyday-life.
Very often people lie to get out of an awkward social situation. In all of these instances the target does not expect to be told the truth, there is notification. But the impostor is a liar, as is the con man, because they are taking advantage of our expectation that we will be told the truth.
More about this will be in my newsletter about the different techniques for lying. So, while people often claim to want to know the truth, there are many instances in which it is more comforting to believe the lies. Check out our micro expressions training tools to learn how!
You must be logged in to post a comment. Why People Lie. Start Micro Expressions Training. Paul Ekman is a well-known psychologist and co-discoverer of micro expressions. He was named one of the most influential people in the world by TIME magazine in He has worked with many government agencies, domestic and abroad.
Ekman has compiled over 50 years of his research to create comprehensive training tools to read the hidden emotions of those around you. Start Training View All Posts. Leave a Reply Cancel reply You must be logged in to post a comment. Search Submit Clear. Paul Ekman.
Training Tools. Facial Action Coding System. Micro Expressions. My .I lied i want you to call
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Understanding People Who Lie