Rationality of Lying

Posted on June 6, 2015

Photo: flickr

We think of ourselves as good, honest people. Yet, we lie from time to time. Are we deceiving ourselves?

Thus, irrational behaviour was studied by behavioural economist Dan Ariely at Duke University. He found himself attracted to mendacity, prevarication, fabrication, which in other words mean lying.

Ariely teamed to do a series of interviews of real-world cases of cheating, corruption and little white lies. He found that the differences between serious fraud and a minor fib might be less significant than what we want to believe.

It is common for us to explain and reinterpret our actions. It allows us to feel as though what we are doing is honest after rationalising our actions repeatedly, no matter how far we stray from our values.

However, rationalising dishonesty does not equate to acting rationally.

“Is lying or being dishonest irrational? Sometimes. Sometimes not.”

Perhaps lying could help to us get pass a tricky situation, however there might be serious repercussions thereafter. A rational path needs you to think about long-term consequences. Thus, lying is not rational.

Careful of your thoughts!

Category(s):Adult psychological development, Identity Problems, Values Clarification

Source material from Scientific American