Men are twice as likely as women to consider themselves to be good at lying and at getting away with it, according to new research. Scientists also found that people who excel at lying are good talkers and tell more lies than others, usually to family, friends, romantic partners and colleagues.
Dr Brianna Verigin, who led the research carried out at the University of Portsmouth, added that expert liars also preferred to lie face-to-face, rather than via text messages, with social media the least likely place where they would tell a lie. Dr Verigin said: ‘We found a significant link between expertise at lying and gender.
Men were more than twice as likely to consider themselves expert liars who got away with it. ‘Previous research has shown that most people tell one-two lies per day, but that’s not accurate, most people don’t lie every day but a small number of prolific liars are responsible for the majority of lies reported.
‘What stood out in our study was that nearly half (40%) of all lies are told by a very small number of deceivers. And these people will lie with impunity to those closest to them. ‘Prolific liars rely on a great deal on being good with words, weaving their lies into truths, so it becomes hard for others to distinguish the difference, and they’re also better than most at hiding lies within apparently simple, clear stories which are harder for others to doubt.’
The study found that the best lies stay close to the truth Dr Verigin, of the university’s department of psychology, quizzed 194 people, half men and half women, with an average age of 39, for the study published in Plos One. They were asked a series of questions including how good they were at deceiving others, how many lies they had told in the past 24 hours, the type of lies they had told, who to and whether they had done so face-to-face or via other means.
‘Time after time, studies have shown we are not as good at detecting lies as we think we are. At best, most of us have a 50:50 chance of getting it right when someone is pulling the wool over our eyes. ‘We wanted to focus on those who are good at lying and try to understand how they do it and to whom.’
A University of Portsmouth spokeswoman said: ‘The study found one of the key strategies of liars was to tell plausible lies that stay close to the truth, and to not give away much information. And the better someone thinks they are at lying, the more lies they’ll tell. ‘The most commonly-used strategy among all those who admitted to lying, whether experts or poor liars, was to leave out certain information.’
‘But expert liars added to that an ability to weave a believable story embellished with truth, making the lies harder to spot. ‘In contrast, those who thought they weren’t good at lying resorted, when they did lie, to being vague.’