Review of Reasons and Causes of Human Lying

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Why Do We Lie?

Human dishonesty is a concept that has received widespread attention over the past decade. The engagement in lying and cheating are common and considered to be a part of humanity. It is always going to be part of human nature because we tend to think that by lying will help us to achieve our own personal goals and intentions in life whether in ways big and small. Humans are universally talented in lying, which prompts the emergence of the question: “Why do people lie?”

Lying starts from an early age usually around three years of age. This is the time when they start to realize that you can’t read their minds, in other words, they begin to understand the difference between true and not true or they can tell you anything that is not true without you always knowing. Most common reason why kids lie is that they try to cover something up, so they don’t get into trouble, but it is more convoluted than that. Based on one study of two associate professors from University of Verona, Bucciol and Piovesan, age plays a big role when it comes to this matter. They focused on children and adults and whether they were capable of engaging in cheating behavior, “They tested whether children aged 5–15 would act dishonestly when they could get away with it, and they found that children of all ages cheated, but not to the full extent possible when the decision could only be made once.” (Catrine). As a result of their test, they discovered that the higher age the lower cheating tendency.

Humans lie to avoid tension. The urge to attain a given result prompts individuals to create untruthful events or phenomena that would allow them to earn a given perception from other individuals. Moreover, some individuals lie to manipulate others into developing ideas and thoughts that would inflate their egos (Bhattacharjee). The urge to inflate the ego made the current US president lie that his inaugural congregation was larger than that of President Obama. Also, people lie to avoid conflict by covering up bad behavior. The cover-up attribute of lying has been the center of multiple discussions and scholarly research. According to Bhattacharjee, several instances of lying to cover-up bad behavior may result in a bigger conflict or the involvement with the criminal justice system.

Jacobsen, Fosgaard, and Pascual‐Ezama (359) used a theoretical approach to investigate the reasons and drivers for lying. According to Jacobsen, Fosgaard, and Pascual‐Ezama (359), humans lie whenever the benefits of being dishonest to exceed their costs. The theory explains why people lie to get unjust rewards while knowing that the truth may ruin their lives. Moreover, people lie to satisfy their selfish needs due to the fear of disappointing others. The concept of self-serving bias suggests that humans tend to attribute failure to the external factors and successes to themselves, thereby forcing them to lie not to disappoint themselves and the people around them. The final rationale for lying is to take advantage of other people as a child could do to avoid the loss of trust or punishment for a mistake.

In summary, humans lie for several reasons, with the frequency of dishonesty being generally high. This discussion establishes that the main reasons for lying include to avoid tension, to manipulate others into developing ideas and thoughts that would inflate their egos, to avoid conflict by covering up bad behavior, due to the fear of disappointing others, and to take advantage of other people.

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