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I don’t appreciate it when people compare me to other people

There are so many reasons why people lie that listing them all would be impossible. When it comes to lying, however, the most common incentive for both children and adults is to escape punishment. Avoiding humiliation, shielding ourselves or others from harm, and maintaining privacy are all prevalent goals. The most prevalent reason people tell large lies, regardless of their age, is to avoid punishment, whether it’s a speeding ticket or being grounded. A serious lie can have serious consequences, including the loss of freedom, money, a career, a relationship, a reputation, or even one’s life. Lies are only detectable through demeanor – facial expression, bodily movements, look, voice, or words – in major lies for which the liar would face punishment if discovered. The threat puts the person under emotional stress, causing involuntary changes that can reveal the truth. Ordinary life lies, where there are no consequences or incentives for being discovered, and lies are easily told flawlessly. The goal of telling a major lie is to conceal the reward or profit gained by breaking a rule or exceeding an explicit expectation. The curfew violator was able to stay at the party for a longer period of time; the fast driver is rushing because the alarm went off and he pressed the snooze button. If his deception is successful, the spouse who claims the ringer on his workplace phone was turned off while he was ‘working’ late – in a hotel room with his lover – will pay no penalty. In each of these cases, the rule breaker has decided in advance that if confronted, he or she will lie to cover up the cheating. A great grade on an exam, for example, could have been obtained without cheating, but not as easily; it would have required more effort.

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