60 percent of people lie at least once during a 10 minute conversation, and on average, tell two or three lies during that time. At least this is true according to a study of 121 college graduate students conducted by University of Massachusetts-Amherst psychologist Robert Feldman. In this week’s episode of Brain Games, Jason Silva explores why your brain is built to know when tweaking the truth can be beneficial. So are we all liars? Some scientists say that everyone lies and it is just a part of being human. Whether this is true or not, one thing is for certain.. human beings are fascinated with truth and lies.
It could be argued that lies are often celebrated and admired. There is probably no better example than April Fool’s Day, which of course happens on April 1 every year. The day is celebrated in many countries, and people partake by playing practical jokes or creating hoaxes. Maybe you remember the 1998 April 1st introduction of the “left-handed whopper” by Burger King? Or in 1996 when the Liberty Bell was “purchased” by Taco Bell and renamed the Taco Liberty Bell? A lot of people fell for those hoaxes and they are unlikely to be the last of the well-planned April Fools.
Most people learn all about April Fools’ Day the hard way, but did you know that there is also a National Honesty Day? M. Hirsh Goldberg, former press secretary and author of several books, created the “holiday” during the 1990′s while writing The Book of Lies: Fibs, Tales, Schemes, Scams, Fakes, and Frauds That Have Changed The Course of History and Affect Our Daily Live. The book, which was first published in May 1991, describes the lies that are told every day.
Hirsh decided that the holiday should happen on April 30, since April Fools’ was at the first of month. To celebrate this day, participants are expected to give a truthful and straightforward answer to anyone who asks a question. It might not be the best day to ask, “Does this dress make me look fat?” Maybe April Fool’s Day isn’t so bad! Hirsh’s holiday was probably mostly a marketing gimmick to sell more books, but it looks like it’s going be around for a while.
Truth is —we probably all lie. Here are five favorites:
- I’m just a few minutes away.
- I’m fine.
- I’m just kidding.
- Thank you for this wonderful gift. I love it!
- Sorry I couldn’t take your call.
If you have told any of these lies, you are not alone. Whether it’s telling a little white lie or something that would be considered a serious betrayal, your brain is built to know when tweaking the truth can be beneficial. It isn’t unusual to lie to spare someone’s feelings or to avoid an argument. In this week’s episode of Brain Games: Liar Liar, we’ll explore why we lie, how often we lie, and what goes on in the brain that allows us to stretch the truth in the first place.
In this video, Jason discusses why sometimes white lies can lead to the greater good:
Tune in to the season finale of Brain Games: Liar Liar, tonight at 9P.