The prevalence of lying in America: Three studies of self-reported lies

Academic Article

Abstract

  • This study addresses the frequency and the distribution of reported lying in the adult population. A national survey asked 1,000 U.S. adults to report the number of lies told in a 24-hour period. Sixty percent of subjects report telling no lies at all, and almost half of all lies are told by only 5% of subjects; thus, prevalence varies widely and most reported lies are told by a few prolific liars. The pattern is replicated in a reanalysis of previously published research and with a student sample. Substantial individual differences in lying behavior have implications for the generality of truth-lie base rates in deception detection experiments. Explanations concerning the nature of lying and methods for detecting lies need to account for this variation. © 2010 International Communication Association.
  • Authors

    Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Serota KB; Levine TR; Boster FJ
  • Start Page

  • 2
  • End Page

  • 25
  • Volume

  • 36
  • Issue

  • 1