Social Question

rojo's avatar

Is lying an art or a science?

Asked by rojo (24176points) August 10th, 2016

To do it well do you have to have in inborn talent for it or is it an ability that absolutely anyone can develop given the time, inclination and opportunity?

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32 Answers

MrGrimm888's avatar

I think some are born with it. Others developed it to better navigate their lives. Lying isn’t always a negative thing. There are many variables that play into why I might lie,and to what degree I am bending the truth. Sometimes lying is a self serving, or manipulative act. Other times, it can be to reassure someone, or make them feel better.

My grandmother thinks I’m a devout Baptist. Not so much… But I lie to her because it makes her feel better.

ragingloli's avatar

Lying is a skill like any other. And if you want to maintain a level of excellency, you have to practice constantly.

flutherother's avatar

Anyone without a sense of shame can make a reasonably good liar.

Coloma's avatar

If you’re born with sociopathic traits or have a personality disorder lying is more science/psychology based, and easily taken to the level of an art form. Most, relatively, psychologically healthy people may tell little white lies on occasion but are not going to pursue or excel at lying in general. If you’re lacking in conscience lying does, indeed, come quite naturally. There’s a big difference in calling in “sick” to work once in awhile because you are exhausted and need a day off, vs. looking someone right in the eye, smiling, while you con them into signing their life savings over to you. haha

canidmajor's avatar

Definitely an art. Literature, all sorts of paintings, sculptures, films…
Definitely art.

elbanditoroso's avatar

Both. To be a good liar, you have to know how, but you also have to deliver the lie artfully.

ibstubro's avatar

I agree 100% with @ragingloli.
Lying is a skill.
It can be learned, but certain people seem to have a natural proclivity.
Practice, practice, practice, if you want to be President.

ZEPHYRA's avatar

A science rounded off with artistic skills.

MrGrimm888's avatar

People keep mentioning the liar as being,or needing to be skillful. But a big variable in the equation of a lie,is the gullibility or ignorance, of the person being lied to.
People who naturally believe what they hear are more susceptible to being lied to.
People who take what they hear with a grain of salt are less likely to fall victim to a lie,or attempted deception.

In other words. People shouldn’t trust people so much.

Trust me.~~~

stanleybmanly's avatar

I suppose those in the “profession” will regard it as both. As with any other “skill”, some appear born with innate abilities, while others fail to master the intricacies despite a lifetime of effort. Speaking of lying, is politics an art or a science? I remember taking courses in political science at a school with an actual department of political science. The term always struck me as odd. Sort of like criminal engineering or huckster theology.

MrGrimm888's avatar

@stanleybmanly . Several jobs I’ve been employed by had courses designed to deduce a ‘customer or assailant’s (depending on the job) personality. Then, I was taught how to manipulate each type of personality,based on the traits of the personality type . I always felt uncomfortable in these classes. Once I attended one that lasted 4 days. People teach people to manipulate others for gain. It’s kind of wild that this behavior is ‘taught.’

Lying is a tool. It can be misused, or abused.

kritiper's avatar

I think it’s an art you develop. Some people do make a science out of it, but there are too many unknowns to contend with to really call it a science.

chyna's avatar

My ex boss was the biggest liar I have ever met. And she was horrible at it but didn’t care. I would often call her out on it and she would just look at me without shame.
She could be on a phone call in the same room with me and tell me she said such and such. Um, no you didn’t. I’m sitting here and heard you.
This was a doctor!

SecondHandStoke's avatar

Unconvincing lying is neither.

Winter_Pariah's avatar

I go with science, and like many things in science, it can be beautiful, like some art. (also really damn ugly like some art). I know it’s not a good place to start but the show Lie to Me is based off of the work of Dr. Paul Ekman, a psychologist who linked emotions to facial expressions and because of his work, is considered to be the world’s greatest human lie detector. Other scientists have also done studies in human behavior and emotion by not just reading the face (or not reading the face at all) but body language, physical stance, as well as foot placement and have been able to determine whether or not someone is lying based on these factors with surprisingly high success rates.

So science.

Sneki95's avatar

Neither. It’s an ability.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Lying is an action that can be enacted skillfully or unskillfully. Just like truth telling.

ibstubro's avatar

Successful lying is a skill. Telling untruths and having people believe them.

Not to beat a horse’s dead ass, but Donald Trump has raised the bar on lying. He’s artfully scientific about it. There are very few people that believe what he says, and yet there are a goodly number of people that accept it. He’s the quintessential snake oil salesman. Otherwise sane people are so entertained by his shtick that they’re willing to buy a bottle as ticket price. Forgetting (ignoring) the fact that him pouring his elixir down their throat is part of the bargain.
I forgive the truly ignorant that take Trump at face value. They are handicapped by life, and not a significant voting block.
It’s the ”Not-Clinton” Trump supporters that frighten me. So, write in Ted “Christ was specific about who he liked” Cruz, and be done with it.

ibstubro's avatar

Let me know when I can start a new tirade on this question. I need to address people who seem to have never been introduced to Truth.

ragingloli's avatar

The truth is usually just an excuse for a lack of imagination. – Elim Garak

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

I wonder if Elim is being imaginative or offering excuses with that statement.

canidmajor's avatar

@ibstubro: Start your tirade. But do remember, “truth” is a mutable concept. “Lying” is also a mutable concept. If you are referring to telling of facts/non-facts, another concept, yet.

Coloma's avatar

Habitual, compulsive lying is a character disorder, plain and simple.

Dutchess_III's avatar

It can be a very bad habit that people can do without even thinking about it or even realizing it. My ex was like that. I accepted about 40% of what he said at face value. The rest I didn’t, especially when it came to praising himself or something he had accomplished. He even embellished and exaggerated or flat out lied when he didn’t even need to..

ibstubro's avatar

Thanks, @canidmajor. It’s too hot and my blood pressure is already too high for a proper tirade, but I’ll post.

What is up with people that only have a passing acquaintance with the truth?
The people that don’t care about truth?
The people that tell you they saw Mary and Steve buying lumber Friday afternoon.
Then the next day later tell you that they know Steve is cheating on Mary because both Cindy and Steve’s cars were parked at Steve’s house Friday afternoon while Mary was at work.
You ask about it? Gently?
And the same person says “Steve and Mary are always at my hangout on Friday afternoons.” Can’t be true.

How does a sane person deal with that crap?
Can you?
Should you?
Deal with it in a calm and appropriate manner?

Coloma's avatar

@ibstubro I don’t do gossip and I don’t do gossip mongers and I, especially, don’t do gossipy liars. I used to know a woman that would, literally, start talking dirt about people before their cars even left her driveway. She would have parties and get togethers and be so, superficially sweet and nice, but man, the very, fucking SECOND, you walked out the door she went sniper.
She was always telling me I was her best friend, very uncomfortable because I did not return the sentiments and thought, if you consider me your best friend and you are always trash talking others, god only knows what you’re saying about me behind my back.

I severed ties pretty quickly. When people show you their true colors, take off the rose colored glasses. haha

canidmajor's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies: if you are familiar with Elim Garak and know his backstory you would truly appreciate the reference.

greatfullara's avatar

The emegdula in the brain is responsible for your value system and empathy.If this is too small,lying comes easy to you.If your emegdula is too small you might be a sociopath or a phycopath.Someone help me spell please.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@greatfullara when you compose a post, do some of your words, like, “emegdula’ show up with a red, squiggly line under them?

Jeruba's avatar

In Some Buried Caesar, a Nero Wolfe mystery published in 1938, Archie Goodwin says: “She wasn’t much good as a liar; she didn’t know how to relax for it. Wolfe has taught me that one of the most important requirements for successful lying is relaxed vocal cords and throat muscles; otherwise you are forced to put on extra pressure to push the lie through, and the result is that you talk faster and raise the pitch and the blood shows in your face.”

Archie is detective Wolfe’s right-hand man and the narrator of the long-running series.

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