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Remembering what never occurred? Children’s false memories for repeated experiences

written by Bruna Calabởi vì, Henry Otgaar, Timothy J. Luke và Sara Landström

Origins of Common Fears: A Review

written by Arash Emamzadeh

White lies and black lies: What they have sầu in comtháng and how they differ

written by Janina Steinmetz & Ann-Christin Posten


White lies và blaông xã lies: What they have sầu in comtháng and how they differ

Blachồng lies, or telling a lie to gain a personal benefit, are universally condemned. In contrast, White lies, or telling a lie to please another person, are seen as an innocent part of everyday interactions. Does that mean that White lies have no negative consequences? We discuss the origins and consequences of blachồng lies & Trắng lies, và point out the potentially ugly side of trắng lies.

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In everyday life, people sometimes tell “blachồng lies”, & sometimes “White lies”. For both types of lies (or deceptioni), the deceiver communicates misleading information khổng lồ another person or group namely the deceived <1>. However, a large difference exists between blaông xã lies & Trắng lies: With blachồng lies, the deceiver tries lớn gain something at the cost of the deceived. In other words, the deceiver exploits the deceived out of self-interest. A classic example is the notorious used car dealer, who lies khổng lồ customers about the state of the cars that are for sale. Regarding White lies, the picture looks different: The deceiver lies lớn please the deceived by using affiliative deception. For example, most of us have sầu told a friend that their new hair-cut looks great lớn please and not irritate the frikết thúc, while secretly disliking the hair-cut. Such deception out of affiliative motives means to lớn lie in order to lớn deepen a relationship, or lớn please the deceived by saying what they would presumably like to hear.

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Obviously, the deception in the two examples above sầu stems from very different motives, và therefore is usually met with condemnation in case of blachồng lies, versus affiliation in case of white lies. But are trắng lies thus desirable & without harm? In this article, we highlight that Trắng lies can cause harm precisely because people use them lớn foster relationships & affiliation. More specifically, when people want to affiliate with others, they tend lớn agree with all questions và statements of others. Thereby, affiliation biases response behavior, even on neutral questions và even when nothing can be gained from the response. Such a response bias can distort responses lớn health surveys, public policy questionnaires, or eyewitness interrogations; in other words, White lies can cause harm by undermining the effectiveness of public policy or by incriminating innocent others. To tư vấn this argument, we first Review the underlying motives of baông chồng lies versus trắng lies, & then illustrate how research on the prevention of blaông chồng lies might also be used lớn prevent the negative consequences of White lies.

Blaông xã lies

Deception is so common that not only humans, but even animals engage in it. For instance, while apes often simply take food from weaker counterparts, they have sầu also been shown lớn employ deception. When they can steal food by reaching through opaque instead of see-through tunnels, they often reach for the opaque tunnels so that their competitors cannot detect their actions <2, 3>. These cases of deception are exploitative, as the deceiving apes strategically mislead their counterparts for personal benefits (e.g., tasty food). But what determines whether or not people (và apes) engage in such black lies?

An obvious factor that influences whether people deceive sầu is whether they think that they will get caught <4>. For example, low chances of being detected increase deception of taxpayers <5, 6>. Such behavior is rational, as being detected reduces the gain one can expect. Imagine the used oto dealer who considers lying about a car’s history of accidents lớn charge a higher price for the car (i.e., the gain). If the lie is easily detected (e.g., if the car has bumps and scratches), the likelihood lớn sell the oto decreases. Consequently, the salesman will be honest.

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A common assumption is that, rationally, deceiving for higher, rather than lower gains is more beneficial. Surprisingly however, this is not what psychological retìm kiếm finds. People seem to lớn cheat equally often when both high & low gains are at play <7, 8, 9>. Research suggests that cheating does not only depover on materialistic gains, but also on psychological costs that deception inflicts on the deceiver. On the one h&, deceiving for larger gains is more attractive than deceiving for smaller gains. On the other hand, deceiving for larger gains carries larger psychological costs <1, 10>. Psychological costs – the internal discomfort that people experience when doing something against their beliefs or values – depover on the magnitude of a lie <11>. In one experiment, participants were paid according lớn the outcome they secretly rolled with a die. When asked about their outcome, they were more likely khổng lồ commit ‘smaller’ deceptions (i.e., reporting 5 instead of 4) than ‘bigger’ ones (reporting 6 instead of 1). Thus, it seems that the psychological cost of telling a lie increase with the magnitude of the lie <11>.

The psychological costs of a lie are closely linked khổng lồ what one thinks about oneself. In general, people want to think that they are honest. Telling big lies & deceiving others is incompatible with this image <12>. Telling somewhat smaller lies that are ‘almost true’ is easier to lớn reconcile with a positive sầu image of oneself <11, 13>. Because generating a plausible justification for one’s lie (e.g., “I almost rolled a 6 with my die”) is often a crucial part of deception, limiting people’s ability khổng lồ come up with explanations for their lying increases honesty <14>. Furthermore, measures that highlight that one wants to lớn be a good person increase subsequent honesty. For example, signing on top of a self-report khung (e.g., tax returns) increases the attention to lớn the moral self. Consequently, people cheat less when completing the khung <15>. In other words, the human desire to lớn view oneself as a moral person can be utilized to deter deception.

Taken together, people try to lớn exploit others with black lies. Whether people engage in blaông chồng lies depends on whether something can be gained through the deception, whether they will get caught, và whether psychological costs occur. Yet, there is another important factor: the relationship with the deceived. Retìm kiếm shows that cheating socially distant others is more acceptable <16>. However, people more frequently deceive sầu cđại bại others <17>. A possible explanation is that there is often more to lớn gain from deceiving cđại bại others, & more khổng lồ thua from revealing unpleasant truths. However, we suggest that this is not the only reason. Deception is not only driven by exploitative motives but can also result from affiliative sầu motives. Therefore, we next discuss cases of deception that result from the motivation to lớn forge a positive relationship with the deceived or lớn please the deceived.

White lies

When motivated to lớn affiliate with or lớn please the deceived, the deceiver tries lớn infer the intentions và attitudes of the deceived & communicates information accordingly <18>. In some cases, this is very easy. When telling a friend that their haircut looks great, it is obvious that this answer would please the frikết thúc, và the truth would not. Also in other instances, people feel compelled to tell white lies. People who respond to market research or health behavior questionnaires also often try lớn give responses that please the person asking the question <19, 20>. Just lượt thích in the case of the friend’s haircut, it is easy to lớn anticipate that the market researcher would like khổng lồ hear that you lượt thích their hàng hóa, and that a health researcher would lượt thích to lớn hear that you eat vegetables.

Yet, telling white lies is not always that simple. How vị responders in market retìm kiếm & health surveys more generally infer which answers are expected or desired by the interviewer? Retìm kiếm shows that deceivers rely on the rules và principles of communication to lớn make such judgments. According lớn these principles, agreement (rather than disagreement) is expected in most everyday communication <21>. We all intuitively underst& this. For example, imagine you want lớn invite a friend to lớn your trang chủ for a spaghetti dinner. To be sure that your friend likes spaghetti, you ask, “Do you lượt thích spaghetti?”, expecting a “Yes!”. cảnh báo that, if you assume that your friover doesn’t like broccoli but you wanted lớn double-check, you would ask the question differently: “You don’t lượt thích broccoli, vị you?”, expecting a “No!”. If we expect “Yes!” answers, we typically ask more comtháng, positive questions (“Do you…?”), whereas if we expect “No!”, we ask less common, negative questions (“You don’t…?”).

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Responders who seek khổng lồ give sầu expected answers follow the same xúc tích và ngắn gọn. Positive sầu questions <21> signal that “Yes” is an expected or appropriate answer. Thus, people who want lớn please the person asking the question typically resort to general agreement, for example by giving more “yes”-responses <22, 23>. Thereby, a focus on the assumed intention of the person asking the question results in an affirmative sầu response bias <24>. Importantly, such an affirmative sầu response bias can unintentionally result in deception from purely affiliative sầu motives. In fact, recent retìm kiếm highlights the affiliative motive sầu behind such deceptive sầu communication <25>. In these studies, participants agreed more with survey questions when affiliation was primed, for example by imagining that a frikết thúc, who is a likely target of affiliation, will read the answers. When primed with affiliation, participants were more likely lớn agree with different kinds of questions such as “If my brother or sister fails, I feel responsible” or “I value being in good health above everything” <26>. Interestingly, participants showed the same tendency lớn agree when the questions were about an average person (e.g., “The average person values being in good health above everything”). In these cases, agreement conveys no desirable or positive sầu information about the deceiver, and there is no benefit to be gained from such responding. Nevertheless, the deceiver responds in a way that matches the expected answer of the deceived, lớn please the deceived. Remarkably, deception in these instances occurs without any expectation of receiving a favor in return. People usually tell White lies because they expect something from their counterpart (e.g., a positive sầu relationship), but when primed with affiliation, people deceive sầu even in cases when nothing can be expected from the counterpart (i.e., the researcher).

The consequences of blaông chồng lies & trắng lies

Now, we discuss how blaông xã lies & Trắng lies affect the deceiver, the deceived, and third parties. Unsurprisingly, the literature shows that exploitative sầu deception for one’s own benefit harms or terminates the relationship between the deceiver & the deceived <27>. A customer who discovers the used oto dealer’s lies would probably leave sầu immediately. In contrast, affiliative deception often entails positive interpersonal outcomes <28>. In the case of pro-social lies that solely benefit others, observers of the deception like and trust the deceiver more than they like và trust an honest person <29>. An example of such a pro-social lie would be khổng lồ tell one’s trùm that a colleague did great work, even if the work was only mediocre. In such cases, telling the truth for the sake of being truthful is seen as selfish và less moral <29>.

Are White lies then without any harm? Even when the motives behind deception are purely affiliative, the deceived as well as third parties might face negative consequences. In the case of survey responding, the deceived researcher may find false results, which could negatively affect policies for third parties such as the general public <25>. Ultimately, false retìm kiếm results waste taxpayer money when, for example, public health programs lớn combat obesity or smoking build on such false results. Even more concerning might be cases of affiliative deception in eyewitness interviews. In such situations, witnesses might want lớn help & please the interrogator. When assuming that affirmation is the desired answer <23>, witnesses in doubt might respond with yes to lớn questions, because they assume that this is what the interrogator expects. In these cases, innocent third parties might be convicted of crimes, although the deceiver had only affiliative intentions <30>.

Given its negative sầu consequences, much retìm kiếm has been dedicated khổng lồ the detection of black lies – see <31> for a comprehensive sầu approach. Concerning the detection of Trắng lies, research has focused on the detection of socially desirable responding <20, 24>. However, white lies also occur on neutral items that convey no desirable information <25>. More retìm kiếm is needed to study how such deception can be detected. One way to lớn address the problem of Trắng lies in surveys could be using implicit measures that vì not rely on explicit verbal questions, or phrasing questions in neutral ways so that people cannot infer which answer might be desired by the person asking the question. Nevertheless, if you want to know whether your frikết thúc truly likes your new haircut, even from a neutral question like “What vì you think of my haircut?” will your friover probably still infer that you want them lớn say something positive. 

Regarding the personal consequences for the deceiver, we have sầu discussed how telling blaông chồng lies can be psychologically costly <11>. Research has not yet investigated whether telling Trắng lies also bears psychological costs for the deceiver. For example, does giving a certain response in a survey khổng lồ please a researcher also threaten the deceiver’s honest self-image? Unlượt thích in the cases of deception due lớn exploitative sầu motives, the perceived benefits of affiliative deception may outweigh its costs. The positive sầu feeling that results from thinking that one has pleased the researcher might be stronger than the psychological costs of having lied. Otherwise, it would be difficult lớn understvà why people engage in affiliative deception at all. 

Whereas blachồng lies are in many instances prevented through deterrence và punishment (e.g., termination of a relationship), White lies are in contrast assumed to be a necessary lubricant of daily interactions that does not need khổng lồ be prevented. After all, why prsự kiện small flattering lies about a friend’s haircut? However, we have pointed out above sầu that some White lies can indeed have sầu negative sầu consequences, for example by distorting the results of retìm kiếm in the public interest. To prevent such White lies in order to facilitate public policy, considering the above-mentioned psychological costs of deception could offer one possibility to prsự kiện deception. Deceivers might think that their affirmative answers please market or health researchers, without inflicting any costs on the deceived. Thus, these researchers might, at the onset of their studies, make explicit that their research is hurt even by well-meant deceptive sầu answers. Thereby, deceivers might become aware of the costs of their deception. People might then refrain from affiliative deception, thereby giving researchers more accurate answers.

Another way khổng lồ prsự kiện exploitative sầu deception is to highlight people’s moral image of themselves (e.g., by signing before providing information) <15>. The question arises whether this measure could also reduce affiliative sầu deception. Thereby, emphasizing the moral self when responding to questionnaires could lead to lớn more accurate answers because people rather focus on their ethicality than on what kind of answer please the researcher. Doing so could also increase accuracy in market retìm kiếm or public health surveys.

Deception is part of everyday human interaction. Although the used car dealer who is lying khổng lồ clients might at first sight not have much in comtháng with the survey participant who mostly responds with “yes”, we argue that both cases are examples of deception. Importantly, whereas we all immediately underst& the harm in telling blachồng lies, also telling White lies can ultimately be harmful.


i We treat lying as one special case of deception, in which an untruth is stated whereas deception can also take other forms, such as physically hiding something. However, there is an ongoing debate about their relation <32>.


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