For your own safety, keep the Machiavellians away

By Truth About Deception

People with Machiavellian personality traits, also known as one of the dark personality traits, are extremely cynical and like to exploit others. While they can be charming, they are definitely not the type of person you want to be intimately involved with.

New research examines how Machiavellians approach sex. Overall the picture is bleak. Machiavellians use sex not as a way to foster intimacy, love and affection. But, they are more likely to use sex as a means for achieving their own personal goals such as revenge, increasing their status, gaining resources, or simply as a physical release, just to name a few.

And it should come as no surprise that Machiavellians are also more likely to engage in sexual lies and are prone to infidelity.

Source: Brewer, G., & Abell, L. (2015). Machiavellianism and sexual behavior: Motivations, deception and infidelity. Personality and Individual Differences, 74, 186-191.


Oxytocin may induce blindness

By Truth About Deception

New research highlights the possible chemical pathway through which individuals, who are in love, may not be vigilant about detecting a partner’s deceptive behavior.

In the study, some participants were given a dose of oxytocin, a powerful hormone that naturally increases when individuals fall in love and have a lot of affectionate and physical interaction.

People, who were exposed to oxytocin, were less accurate at judging others trustworthiness. From the study

“Rather than improving subjects’ inferences about others’ mental states, oxytocin impeded accurate assessments of trustworthiness in risky social exchanges.”

Maybe oxytocin, which is often called the “love drug”, should come with the following warning label: “Too much kissing, cuddling, and sex can lead to higher levels of oxytocin, ultimately making you vulnerable to being duped by your lover.”

Source:  Israel, S., Hart, E., & Winter, E. (2014). Oxytocin Decreases Accuracy in the Perception of Social Deception. Psychological Science,25(1), 293-295.


Future of Lying

By Truth About Deception


Unfair Advantage

By Truth About Deception

It is well known that people have a truth-bias. That is, people tend to believe what they hear, especially when dealing with an intimate partner (see, truth-bias).

New research reveals that when it comes to lying, a small percentage of people tell an outsized proportion of lies. The top 5% of liars are responsible for roughly 40% of the lies that are told.1

And the individuals who are more likely to lie are also more likely to cheat for personal gain and they are more likely to possess psychopathic traits (e.g., be manipulative, lack empathy, be impulsive, etc.).

The takeaway message?

In the real world, giving most people the benefit of the doubt is usually the right thing to do.

However, if you are dealing with an individual who lies a lot, the truth-bias may cost you dearly.

Ideally, it would be great if we could spot psychopathic individuals early on, but we usually come to know who we are dealing with, after the fact, when the damage as already been done.


1Halevy, R., Shalvi, S., & Verschuere, B. (2014). Being honest about dishonesty: Correlating self‐reports and actual lying. Human Communication Research, 40,54-72.  Link to article.


Not All Lies Are Equal

By Truth About Deception

Not all lies are the same. And trust comes in different flavors too.

New research reveals that being lied to can increase trust, some of the time.

When someone tells a lie with good intent, trust increases. That is, if someone tells a prosocial lie, we tend to trust him or her more. We make ourselves more open and vulnerable to prosocial liars – this is called “affective trust.”1 We judge people based on their intentions.

While affective trust increases when prosocial lies are told; integrity-based trust tells a different story. Integrity-based trust, the belief that others are honest, actually requires telling the truth.1

If you are a prosocial liar, people may feel more safe and close to you. But, that doesn’t mean that others will necessarily believe what you say.

Just as there are different types of lies, there are different types of trust.


1Levine, E., & Schweitzer, J. (2013).  Prosocial lies:  When deception breeds trust.  Available at SSRN 2266091