A few prolific liars in Japan: Replication and the effects of Dark Triad personality traits

Academic Article


  • Truth-Default Theory (TDT) predicts that across countries and cultures, a few people tell most of the lies, while a majority of people lie less frequently than average. This prediction, referred to as “a few prolific liars,” is tested in Japan. The study further investigated the extent to which the Dark Triad personality traits predict the frequency of lying. University students (N = 305) reported how many times they lied in the past 24 hours and answered personality questions. Results indicate that the few prolific liars pattern is evident in Japan thereby advancing TDT. Results also show that Japanese frequent liars tend to have Dark Triad personality traits, but the nature of the findings may be unique to Japan. Results of the generalized linear model suggest that the Dark Triad components of Machiavellianism and psychopathy exacerbate lying behavior by reducing the guilt associated with lying. However, narcissism encourages guilt and therefore inhibits lying behavior with both direct and indirect effects. These narcissism findings appear to contradict prior studies but stem from use of a more appropriate statistical analysis or the Japanese context.
  • Authors

    Published In

  • PLoS One  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Daiku Y; Serota KB; Levine TR
  • Volume

  • 16
  • Issue

  • 4 April