How to Spot a Shameless Liar

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Here's something to consider, right from the expert's mouth: "Time after time, studies have shown we are not as good at detecting lies as we think we are. At best, most of us have a 50-50 chance of getting it right when someone is pulling the wool over our eyes."


That's according to Brianna Verigin, a psychologist at the U.K.'s University of Portsmouth. She's just released a study into liars, and the results might make for some hard truths. For one, men think they're amazing at lying — twice as good, actually, at both telling a fib and getting away with it. The worst place to tell a lie is social media or in a text; the best is face to face.

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"Most people don't lie every day," Verigin said, "but a small number of prolific liars are responsible for the majority of lies reported." In fact, fully 40 percent of all lies come from "a very small number of deceivers — and these people will lie with impunity to those closest to them."


A propensity for bending the truth can serve you well in certain careers, such as (no joke) sales, while blowing the whistle on the job is likely to unleash more challenges. But in the end, it's not bosses and authority figures who have to worry about empowering liars. "Most expert liars lie most often to family, friends, or colleagues," per Verigin's research. And "the most common types of deception, in descending order, were 'white lies,' exaggerations, hiding information, burying lies in a torrent of truth, and making up things."