Monday, September 9, 2013

The science of lying from LSU and Discovery News

I'll get around to posting more sustainability news from Overnight News Digest: Science Saturday (LADEE launched) on Daily Kos later.  Right now, I'm sharing this psychology item in the same spirit I did Psychology of power and the power of tipping and Discovery News on the psychology of rich people plus a financial crime story.

Discovery News: How To Tell The Perfect Lie

We all know lying is bad.. but sometimes, certain situations give you no other option. Anthony has some tips on how to make that lie more convincing than any other.
Here's a section of the press release about the research that inspired this video.

Louisiana State University: LSU Psychologist Discovers False Descriptions Easier to Remember than False Denials
September 4, 2013
What happens when you tell a lie? Set aside your ethical concerns for a moment—after all, lying is a habit we practice with astonishing dexterity and frequency, whether we realize it or not. What goes on in your brain when you willfully deceive someone? And what happens later, when you attempt to access the memory of your deceit? How you remember a lie may be impacted profoundly by how you lie, according to a new study by LSU Associate Professor Sean Lane and former graduate student Kathleen Vieria. The study, accepted for publication in the Journal of Applied Research and Memory Cognition, examines two kinds of lies – false descriptions and false denials – and the different cognitive machinery that we use to record and retrieve them.

False descriptions are deliberate flights of the imagination—details and descriptions that we invent for something that didn’t happen. As it turned out, these lies were far easier for Lane’s test subjects to remember.

Lane explained that false descriptions remain more accessible and more durable in our memories because they tax our cognitive power.
In other words, false descriptions are more work and that work itself makes them more memorable, both in terms of the details of the lie, but also to remembering when the lie was told.  Welcome to part of the science behind a Big Lie.  Keep that in mind when dealing with someone lacking empathy.  They're usually liars, too.

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