2040’s Ideas and Innovations Newsletter, Issue 66: Why Do People Lie?
Issue 66, July 28, 2022
Last week we discussed inferences that can be made based on what we do versus what we say — all revealed by data from our physical and digital footprints. We offered several observations about how what we say often reflects what we think others want to hear from us or how others expect us to respond. Several months ago, we focused on how individuals and organizations earn trust. This week, we turn our attention to asking why people lie.
We would argue that all of us lie — the issue is to what degree. Why do we lie? The reasons are as complex as the situations that trigger the behavior. Let’s review just a few reasons why we lie:
· To protect others.
· To manipulate others
· To not disappoint others.
· To present a better image of ourselves.
· To please others.
· To hide a weakness or failure.
· To avoid judgment.
· To hide the truth.
· To get votes.
· To outright deceive.
· Because we think what we are saying is the truth.
The public discourse is fraught with lies that we have gently rebranded as fake news and alt-facts. Election results, the number of human Twitter followers, climate change, product safety, sales results, online book reviews, audience size and composition, Constitutional rights, market performance, the promise of a startup business, national sovereignty, reported facts … just to name a few recent headlines. A lie by any label compromises trust and defines one’s ethics. So, why do so many people lie and think they can get away with it? Put another way, not telling the truth has consequences; some may be fatal.