Deception, lies, and cheating all represent dishonest behaviour detested by society. Humans lie with their conscious mind while trying to also cover it up consciously, but our subconscious betrays us by displaying more honesty than we desire. By watching for another person’s subconscious clues, the careful observer may uncover dishonest behaviour in his or her homes or workplaces.
Laurence Fiddick and colleagues’ research in 2016 taught us that cheaters are not reckless people at all, but rather intentional deceivers.
Last week, Business Talk explored dishonesty in workplaces and how supervisors could clamp down on the practice. This week, we explore the psychology and demography of lying.
Science knows quite a lot about the mental physiology and demographics of dishonesty. Lying proves a complex psychological construct since we both hate it as well as use it ourselves. In humans, we know that the younger the person, the greater the likelihood that they lie. Pamela Meyer’s research delineates how babies cry, then stop and look to see who else is listening or coming towards them, then continue crying. By five years old, the human brain develops outright lies to other people through flattery. Nine-year-olds can even cover-up actions.
As children grow older and go to school and later university, research by Troy Voelker, Leonard Love, and Iryna Pentina shows that they often do not know that cheating and plagiarism are actually dishonest behaviours. So while engaging in dishonest behaviours, younger people possess less likelihood to recognise the actions as wrong.
In a fascinating study conducted in 2014, Chelsea Hays and Leslie Carver tested what impact that adult lying holds over children.
When adults lie to children younger than Standard One and the child notices, the adults’ lies do not affect the honesty behaviour of the children. However, as kids become school age and enter Standard One and beyond, then adult lies that children notice greatly influences children over whether they act honestly or dishonestly. In short, dishonest parents raise proportionally more dishonest children.
Eric Schniter and Timothy Shields also uncovered in experiments that under 25-year-olds lie more than those aged over 50. Inasmuch, older businessmen and businesswomen lose more money when they trust younger workers. Surprisingly, dishonest people do not lie at a greater rate to individuals dissimilar to themselves than they do to people similar demographically to them.
Psychologically, we know certain types of people exist as more likely to lie than others.
Former CIA interrogator Susan Carnicero claims that people on average tell upwards of ten lies per day.
Meyer extrapolates that depending on the number of other people we interact with on a daily basis, we hear between 10 and 200 lies told to us per day. When interacting with strangers, people become three times more likely to lie within the first 10 minutes of interacting with each other than in the first minutes of interacting with known acquaintances.
Men lie eight times more about themselves than they do about other people. Women lie more to protect other people. Married individuals lie on average once for every 10 comments, but the number jumps when considering unmarried couples who lie once out of every three comments.
Laurence Fiddick, Gary Brase, Ai Tee Ho, Kai Hiraishi, Atushi Honma, and Adam Smith found that among the big five personality traits of extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, openness, and neuroticism, managers can significantly predict that individuals high in conscientiousness hold more tendencies to break with different types of social rules about exchanges and hazards, including incorporating lying and dishonesty.
People with high conscientious display high levels of thoughtfulness as well as strong impulse control and goal-directed behaviors.
Conscientious individuals function very mindful of details, similar to sensing on the Myers Briggs personality scale. Their stronger conscientious thoughts unexpectedly lead to more dishonest behaviour. Agreeable amicable people also tell more lies, but not as much as conscientious individuals.
Other researchers found that lying becomes more prevalent among extroverts than for introverts due, in part, to the more sheer volume of talking but also the percentage of truth verses lies of what gets said.
Since Kenya exists as a lower trust society, we are more often on the lookout for dishonesty in other people whether coworkers, spouses, children, or strangers in a shop. We often suspect lying even when the truth is told. Northern Europeans, by comparison, suspect the truth on average even when being told a lie.
Employers can utilise the specific Ashton and Lee Six Factor Personality Model to assess workers.
However, since employees can estimate the type of answers that you seek, then instead use the model components to observe their behaviour and whether they abide by social contracts and precautionary measures in life.
What is your propensity towards honesty? Do you lie less than average? Do you carefully ensure that you demonstrate truthful behaviour in front of your school age children? Discuss honesty with other Business Daily readers through #KenyanHonesty on Twitter.
Scott may be reached on: scott@ScottProfessor.com or on Twitter: @ScottProfessor.