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Dr Mike J Smith
Kingston University

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Why we lie.....

Sun, 27 May 2012

Dan Ariely has a really good Saturday Essay in the Wall Street Journal on Why We lie. This pulls together (in layman's terms) a lot of his research on the topic (and it's well worth watching him speak on the topic at TED) and, in summary, most people lie/cheat a little bit. There are very very few of us that are at the extremities (compulsive liers/cheats or those morally at the extreme). Yet that little bit of lying can have profound effects on us all - just think of the 300M people in the US cheating an extra $100 out of the IRS. He suggests some ways that we can manipulate this in the favour of morality that are wonderfully simple - sign a form at the beginning (of a test, tax return, insurance quote) to state that what you say is true or repeat a moral code (frat code, ten commandments etc) before you start an activity. Has big implications for schools amongst others. Essential reading/viewing.

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