Lies: The Science Behind Deception

Greenwood. Jan. 2022. 325p. ISBN 9781440867590. $97. REF
According to Smith (psychology, Husson Univ.), “the average adult tells one to two lies per day while more prolific liars lie almost constantly”—given that adults can detect lies only about 50 percent of the time, this presents a challenge. This excellent study helps overcome that obstacle with its scientifically based analysis and broad coverage on a wide range of topics associated with dishonesty and deceit. It also doubles as a guide for identifying untruthfulness more easily and a primer on employing effective techniques to avoid being deceived. Among the 160 encyclopedic topics are descriptions of 30 different types of lies, in-depth analysis on the personality types most associated with lying, an overview of research on the intricacies of falsehood, and profiles of prominent researchers in the field. Also examined are current topics such as political deceptions, fake news, catfishing, clickbait, phishing, and the impact of social media on honesty and disinformation. Cross-references, resources for further reading, and sidebars with real-world applications are plentiful. For the most part, the content is serious and analytical, with frequent references to seminal studies. Still, the work contains fun facts that often dispel misperceptions about duplicity and treachery.
VERDICT A fascinating resource for anyone curious about why we lie and the physical and psychological effects of deception.
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