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New research reveals that most people say they lie to protect others from harm

Is there such thing as the 'virtuous lie?'

lying, psychology, pinocchio
Photo by Milk Chan on Unsplash

A study examined the motivations people have for lying.

The ethics of honesty are always interesting to explore. Most of us agree that being honest is morally good, but is it important to always tell the truth, no matter what? What if the truth will only hurt someone's feelings? Is it always wrong to lie? What if a lie will save someone's life? Is there a moral difference between stretching the truth and completely demolishing it? Does it depend on why people are doing it?

The reasons people lie are many and varied, of course. But new research gives us some insights into the most common motivations for lying, and surprisingly, the findings are actually pretty heartwarming.

A study published in the Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science in October 2022 looked at the link between personality and lying motivation, as well as the most common reasons people lie. In the study, a group of 257 people were questioned about their lying frequency, lying motivations and personality traits (using the HEXACO Personality Inventory, which measures honesty-humility, emotionality, extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness and openness to experience).


An analysis of the research by Arash Emamzadeh in Psychology Today detailed the findings, which revealed 11 motives for lying:

1. To avoid judgment or shame

2. To avoid punishment

3. Protected from retaliation

4. No "good reason" (basically compulsive lying)

5. To impress others

6. To get a reward

7. Carelessness and impulsiveness

8. To get pleasure out of deceiving people

9. To keep a personal info secret

10. Prosocial reasons that lead to happiness (e.g., telling kids Santa is real)

11. Altruistic reasons (to protect others from harm)

As Emamzadeh pointed out, the first nine motivations on the list are self-serving, while the last two are oriented toward benefiting other people. And while we might assume that most lying is done for selfish reasons, the study actually found the opposite. The top three reasons people reported lying were altruistic reasons, prosocial reasons and avoidance of being judged.

So the biggest reason people lie is to help others. Who knew?

Of course, personality plays a role in why and how often people lie. The study found that lying in general is common, but also found that certain HEXACO personality traits are correlated with more and less frequent lying, as well as different motivations for lying.

People high in the honesty-humility trait were less likely to lie and the majority of lying motivations didn't apply to them. Not surprising.

The emotionality trait (sensitivity/anxiety) was associated with lying to avoid unpleasant or awkward feelings as well as altruism.

Individuals high in extraversion tended to lie more for self-centered reasons and were less likely to lie to keep personal information secret.

Highly agreeable people tended to lie less to avoid punishment or shame or to impress others and also weren't prone to compulsive lying.

Those high in conscientiousness reported lying less frequently and lying less for self-serving reasons, while those low in this trait were more likely to compulsively lie and to enjoy deceiving people.

People most open to new experiences tended to lie for prosocial, others-serving reasons.

Most of the correlations between personality traits and lying are fairly unsurprising, but it is reassuring to know that some behavior and motivation can be predictable.

It's also reassuring to know that most lies aren't as selfish as we might assume they are. Philosophers have long debated the existence and merits of the noble or virtuous lie, and there are compelling arguments for and against lying for morally justifiable reasons. But at the very least, the fact that most lying is done to help others tells us that we are more prone to looking out for one another than we are to serving ourselves. And that's a solid plus one for humanity.

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10 anti-holiday recipes that prove the season can be tasty and healthy

Balance out heavy holiday eating with some lighter—but still delicious—fare.

Albertson's

Lighten your calorie load with some delicious, nutritious food between big holiday meals.

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The holiday season has arrived with its cozy vibe, joyous celebrations and inevitable indulgences. From Thanksgiving feasts to Christmas cookie exchanges to Aunt Eva’s irresistible jelly donuts—not to mention leftover Halloween candy still lingering—fall and winter can feel like a non-stop gorge fest.

Total resistance is fairly futile—let’s be real—so it’s helpful to arm yourself with ways to mitigate the effects of eating-all-the-things around the holidays. Serving smaller amounts of rich, celebratory foods and focusing on slowly savoring the taste is one way. Another is to counteract those holiday calorie-bomb meals with some lighter fare in between.

Contrary to popular belief, eating “light” doesn’t have to be tasteless, boring or unsatisfying. And contrary to common practice, meals don’t have to fill an entire plate—especially when we’re trying to balance out heavy holiday eating.

It is possible to enjoy the bounties of the season while maintaining a healthy balance. Whether you prefer to eat low-carb or plant-based or gluten-free or everything under the sun, we’ve got you covered with these 10 easy, low-calorie meals from across the dietary spectrum.

Each of these recipes has less than 600 calories (most a lot less) per serving and can be made in less than 30 minutes. And Albertsons has made it easy to find O Organics® ingredients you can put right in your shopping cart to make prepping these meals even simpler.

Enjoy!

eggs and green veggies in a skillet, plate of baconNot quite green eggs and ham, but closeAlbertsons

Breakfast Skillet of Greens, Eggs & Ham

273 calories | 20 minutes

Ingredients:

1 (5 oz) pkg baby spinach

2 eggs

1 clove garlic

4 slices prosciutto

1/2 medium yellow onion

1 medium zucchini squash

1/8 cup butter, unsalted

1 pinch crushed red pepper

Find full instructions and shopping list here.

bow of cauliflower ham saladGet your cauliflower power on.Albertsons

Creamy Cauliflower Salad with Ham, Celery & Dill

345 calories | 20 minutes

1/2 medium head cauliflower

1 stick celery

1/4 small bunch fresh dill

8 oz. ham steak, boneless

1/2 shallot

1/4 tspblack pepper

1/4 tsp curry powder

2 tsp Dijon mustard

1/4 tsp garlic powder

3 Tbsp mayonnaise

1/8 tsp paprika

2 tsp red wine vinegar

1/2 tsp salt

Find full instructions and shopping list here.

tofu on skewers on a plate with coleslawPlant-based food fan? This combo looks yums. Albertsons

Grilled Chili Tofu Skewers with Ranch Cabbage, Apple & Cucumber Slaw

568 calories | 20 minutes

1 avocado

1/2 English cucumber

1 (12 oz.) package extra firm tofu

1 Granny Smith apple

3 Tbsp (45 ml) Ranch dressing

1/2 (14 oz bag) shredded cabbage (coleslaw mix)

2 tsp chili powder

1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp salt

Find full instructions and shopping list here.

frittata in a cast iron skilletSometimes you just gotta frittata.Albertsons

Bell Pepper, Olive & Sun-Dried Tomato Frittata with Parmesan

513 calories | 25 minutes

6 eggs

1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted

2 oz Parmesan cheese

1 red bell pepper

1/2 medium red onion

8 sundried tomatoes, oil-packed

1/4 tsp black pepper

1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1/2 tsp Italian seasoning

1/4 tsp salt

Find full instructions and shopping list here.

plate with slices of grilled chicken and a caprese saladCaprese, if you please.Albertsons

Balsamic Grilled Chicken with Classic Caprese Salad

509 calories | 25 minutes

3/4 lb chicken breasts, boneless skinless

1/2 small pkg fresh basil

1/2 (8 oz pkg) fresh mozzarella cheese

1 clove garlic

3 tomatoes

1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

4 3/4 pinches black pepper

1 1/2 tsp extra virgin olive oil

3/4 tsp salt

Find full instructions and shopping list here.

four stuffed mushrooms on a plateThese mushrooms look positively poppable.Albertsons

Warm Goat Cheese, Parmesan & Sun-Dried Tomato Stuffed Mushrooms

187 calories | 35 minutes

1/2 lb cremini mushrooms

1 clove garlic

1/2 (4 oz) log goat cheese

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded

2 sundried tomatoes, oil-packed

1 1/4 pinches crushed red pepper

1 tsp extra virgin olive oil

1/4 tsp Italian seasoning

2 pinches salt

Find full instructions and shopping list here.

plate with open English muffin with goat cheese and sliced baby tomatoes on topMove over, avocado toast. English muffin pizzas have arrived.Albertsons

English Muffin Pizzas with Basil Pesto, Goat Cheese & Tomatoes

327 calories | 10 minutes

3 Tbsp (45 ml) basil pesto

2 English muffins

1/2 (4 oz) log goat cheese

1/2 pint grape tomatoes

3/4 pinch black pepper

2 pinches salt

Find full instructions and shopping list here.

pita pocket on a plate filled with veggies, meat and cheeseThis pita pocket packs a colorful punch.Albertsons

Warm Pita Pocket with Turkey, Cheddar, Roasted Red Peppers & Parsley

313 calories | 20 minutes

1/4 (8 oz) block cheddar cheese

1/2 bunch Italian (flat-leaf) parsley

4 oz oven roasted turkey breast, sliced

1/2 (12 oz) jar roasted red bell peppers

1 whole grain pita

3/4 pinch black pepper

1/2 tsp Dijon mustard

2 tsp mayonnaise

Find full instructions and shopping list here.

plate with toast smeared with avocado and topped with prosciuttoDid we say, "Move over, avocado toast?" What we meant was "Throw some prosciutto on it!" Albertsons

Avocado Toast with Crispy Prosciutto

283 calories | 10 minutes

1 avocado

2 slices prosciutto

2 slices whole grain bread

1 5/8 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp extra virgin olive oil

1/8 tsp garlic powder

1/8 tsp onion powder

Find full instructions and shopping list here.

bowl of chili with cheese and green onions on topVegetarian chili with a fall twistAlbertsons

Black Bean & Pumpkin Chili with Cheddar

444 calories | 30 minutes

2 (15 oz can) black beans

1/2 (8 oz ) block cheddar cheese

2 (14.5 oz) cans diced tomatoes

2 cloves garlic

2 green bell peppers

1 small bunch green onions (scallions)

1 (15 oz) can pure pumpkin purée

1 medium yellow onion

1/2 tsp black pepper

5 7/8 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp cinnamon

2 tsp cumin, ground

1 tsp salt

1 Tbsp virgin coconut oil

Find full instructions and shopping list here.

For more delicious and nutritious recipes, visit albertsons.com/recipes.

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