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Freelance journalist based in Istanbul. Keeping an eye on Turkish politics.
"Can you imagine a world where nobody lies? It would be an incredibly cruel world for sure." - Kang Lee, University of Toronto
We learn to lie as a child, and our lies become more sophisticated as we age. It is only natural. In fact, it is often said that lying is a sign of intelligence.
At the age of two, children lie for their own benefit, such as to cover for a transgression. As they get older, they are more likely to tell white lies to be polite.
Some lies are excuses, yet others are aimed at presenting a false image.
"A motivation that might best explain President Donald Trump’s demonstrably false assertion that his Inauguration crowd was bigger than President Barack Obama’s first one."
Studies also show that most people have, at some point, told one or more "serious lies".
Our ability to lie, to manipulate others without using physical force, is what gave us an advantage in the competition for resources and mates. However, unless one is a sociopath, we place limits.
What is most interesting is that, despite lying being part of our human nature, we trust human communication. This is why scams work.
We are also prone to accept lies that affirm our worldview. This vulnerability is what makes fake news so hard to debunk.
"Because people assess the evidence presented to them through a framework of preexisting beliefs and prejudices" – George Lakoff, University of California
This fascinating long-read reviews the latest studies on the ubiquity of lying, and discusses the unprecedented threat that our vulnerability to being deceived poses in the age of social media.