Why do we lie?

Lying is something all humans do. We find it in every culture around the world. It’s in the world of work, in our relationships and online. It’s all pervasive and hard to escape.

Our question this week is from listener Anthony from Cambodia. He asked us to find out why we lie, and wants to know how conscious we are of the lies that we tell?

CrowdScience’s Caroline Steel is in the hot seat, on a journey where she will attempt to untangle the complex story behind lying.

It’s a subject scientists and psychologists have been studying for a long time. It’s also something writers, philosophers and theologists have been interpreting for thousands of years. But we’re only now really starting to get to grips with how it works as a human behaviour.

There are lies in our folklore, lies in the media and also lies in everyday conversation. It’s something we’ve all had to learn to navigate at some point in our lives. In this episode the CrowdScience team unravels the mysteries surrounding the behaviour and the art of lying.

Our journey will take us to meet the world’s ‘second best liar’, an award she picked up at West Virginia’s Liar Contest. We’ll also meet a comedian who’s proud of the down-to-earth plain honesty of Dutch people.

An academic who has studied thousands of children’s brains will explain when we first start learning to lie. And we’ll hear about new research using magnetic resonance imaging, commonly known as MRI scans, which is helping to show how the more we actually lie, the less our brain reacts telling us not to.

Caroline looks at how lying changes from culture to culture. Do we really all lie? And do we lie in the same way?

The surprising and intriguing answer is found in how early it develops in us as a human behaviour.


Prof Kang Lee, Professor in Applied Psychology and Human Development at Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto Prof Tali Sharot, Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at University College London Ian Leslie, journalist and author of ‘Born Liars’ Ariana Kincaid, Champion Liar at West Virginia Liars Contest Derek Scott Mitchell, actor and comedian | @letsdoubledutch on Instagram Readings by Kitty O'Sullivan

Presenter: Caroline Steel Producer: Robbie Wojciechowski Editor: Richard Collings Production Co-ordinator: Jonathan Harris Studio Managers: Emma Harth, Donald MacDonald, Andrew Garratt

(Photo: Young Businessman Interviews for new job. Credit: Andrew Rich/ Getty Images)

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