Unpacking variation in lie prevalence: Prolific liars, bad lie days, or both?

Academic Article

Abstract

  • Testing truth-default theory, individual-level variation in lie frequency was parsed from within-individual day-to-day variation (good/bad lie days) by examining 116,366 lies told by 632 participants over 91 days. As predicted and consistent with prior findings, the distribution was positively skewed. Most participants lied infrequently and most lies were told by a few prolific liars. Approximately three-quarters of participants were consistently low-frequency liars. Across participants, lying comprised 7% of total communication and almost 90% of all lies were little white lies. About 58% of the variance was explained by stable individual differences with approximately 42% of the variance attributable to within-person day-to-day variability. The data were consistent with both the existence of a few prolific liars and good/bad lie days.
  • Authors

    Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Serota KB; Levine TR; Docan-Morgan T
  • Start Page

  • 307
  • End Page

  • 331
  • Volume

  • 89
  • Issue

  • 3