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Liars find it more rewarding to tell truth than fib when deceiving others

Date:
January 23, 2014
Source:
University of Toronto
Summary:
A report based on two neural imaging studies that monitored brain activity has found individuals are more satisfied to get a reward from telling the truth rather than getting the same reward through deceit.

A University of Toronto report based on two neural imaging studies that monitored brain activity has found a reward given for telling the truth gives people greater satisfaction than the same reward given for deceit.

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These studies were published recently in the neuroscience journals Neuropsychologia and NeuroImage.

"Our findings together show that people typically find truth-telling to be more rewarding than lying in different types of deceptive situations," said Professor Kang Lee,whose research is funded in part by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.

The findings are based on two studies of Chinese participants using a new neuroimaging method called near-infrared spectroscopy. The studies are among the first to address the question of whether lying makes people feel better or worse than telling the truth.

The studies explored two different types of deception. In first-order deception, the recipient does not know the deceiver is lying. In second-order deception, the deceivers are fully aware that the recipient knows their intention, such as bluffing in poker.

The researchers were surprised to find that a liar's cortical reward system was more active when a reward was gained through truth-telling than lying. This was true in both types of deception.

Researchers also found that in both types of deception, telling a lie produced greater brain activations than telling the truth in the frontal lobe, suggesting lying is cognitively more taxing than truth-telling and uses more neural resources.

The researchers hope this study will advance understanding of the neural mechanisms underlying lying, a ubiquitous and frequent human behavior, and help to diagnose pathological liars who may have different neural responses when lying or telling the truth.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Toronto. The original article was written by Dominic Ali. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal References:

  1. Xiao Pan Ding, Liyang Sai, Genyue Fu, Jiangang Liu, Kang Lee. Neural correlates of second-order verbal deception: A functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) study. NeuroImage, 2014; 87: 505 DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2013.10.023
  2. Xiao Pan Ding, Xiaoqing Gao, Genyue Fu, Kang Lee. Erratum to “Neural correlates of spontaneous deception: A functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) study” [Neuropsychologia, 51(4), 704–712]. Neuropsychologia, 2013; 51 (9): 1785 DOI: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2013.05.019

Cite This Page:

University of Toronto. "Liars find it more rewarding to tell truth than fib when deceiving others." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 January 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140123154754.htm>.
University of Toronto. (2014, January 23). Liars find it more rewarding to tell truth than fib when deceiving others. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 4, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140123154754.htm
University of Toronto. "Liars find it more rewarding to tell truth than fib when deceiving others." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140123154754.htm (accessed March 4, 2015).

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