Honesty the best policy? Manchester expert says life wouldn’t work without lies

A senior psychology lecturer believes ‘we would just lock ourselves up in a room and not talk to anybody’ if we lived in a world with no lies.

Today marks International ‘Honesty Day’, a day founded in the USA by the former press secretary of the governor of Maryland, M. Hirsch Goldberg, who chose the date to end the month which starts with pranks and foolishness, April Fools’ Day.

Mr Goldberg created the unofficial holiday while he was writing his book titled ‘The Book of Lies’ as the average person lies six times a day.

With this in mind MM spoke to a couple of experts in the field and headed onto the streets of Manchester to find out the truth… or is that a lie? 

Dr Paul Seager, a senior psychology lecturer at the University of Central Lancashire, specialises in deceptive psychology, he said: “Probably the most common reason that people lie is to actually help other people.

“Generally speaking I don’t think life would function anywhere near as smoothly as it currently does if we didn’t tell little white lies.

“Just imagine a world in which people didn’t lie. At the best we would just lock ourselves up in a room and not talk to anybody because we wouldn’t like what they were necessarily going to say to us.

 “Worst case scenario we’d probably blow each other up to smithereens and there wouldn’t be a world left. The little white lies are the things that keep life’s machinery running smoothly.”

A study published in the Journal of Basic and Applied Psychology found that 60% of people had lied at least once during a ten minute conversation between two strangers.

Dr Geoff Bunn, a senior psychology lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University, said: “There are lots of reasons why people lie. People lie to themselves and they can lie to others, they can lie for the best of intentions and they can lie for the most devious of intentions.”

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