As a word, "lying" encapsulates a huge range of behaviors across a variety of mediums. This article from a professor of philosophy at Wake Forest examines factors that influence the telling of lies, with implications for monitoring our own behavior as well as being cognizant of when we should be most likely to question the truthfulness of others.
"An emerging body of empirical research is trying to answer these questions, and some of the findings are surprising. They hold lessons, too - for how to think about the areas of your life where you might be more prone to tell lies, and also about where to be most cautious in trusting what others are saying. ... Out of 1,000 American participants, 59.9% claimed not to have told a single lie in the past 24 hours. Of those who admitted they did lie, most said they’d told very few lies. Participants reported 1,646 lies in total, but half of them came from just 5.3% of the participants. This general pattern in the data has been replicated several times. Lying tends to be rare, except in the case of a small group of frequent liars. ... [I]t might be surprising to find that, say, lying on video chat was more common than lying face-to-face, with lying on email being least likely. A couple of factors could be playing a role. Recordability seems to rein in the lies – perhaps knowing that the communication leaves a record raises worries about detection and makes lying less appealing. Synchronicity seems to matter too. Many lies occur in the heat of the moment, so it makes sense that when there’s a delay in communication, as with email, lying would decrease. ... When it comes to honesty, though, I find the results, in general, promising. Lying seems to happen rarely for many people, even toward strangers and even via social media and texting. Where people need to be especially discerning, though, is in identifying – and avoiding – the small number of rampant liars out there. If you’re one of them yourself, maybe you never realized that you’re actually in a small minority."
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