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why people lie

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).

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