The truth about lying

June 21st, 2012

When congressman Joe Wilson stood up during a speech by President Obama and said, “you lie,” he could have been talking to all of us. While we are told to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, we seldom do. From corruption in our government, to test-score scandals, from elected leaders’ extramarital affairs to the Ponzi schemes of Wall Street, cheating and dishonesty are significant parts of our culture—and inescapable parts of the human condition.

That's the findings of Dan Ariely, a professor of psychology and behavioral economics at Duke University and the author of The Honest Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone---Especially Ourselves. He's run experiments with some 30,000 people and found that very few people lie a lot, but almost everyone lies a little.

My conversation with Dan Ariely: