Monday, 7 January 2008

Honesty is a vertue or is it?

Does my bum look big in this?

Apparently lying is good for us, it has proven psychological benefits

“In moral terms, honesty is without doubt a virtue, and dishonesty is a vice. But in social terms, absolute honesty can lead to trouble, risking causing offense to others who may not want or need to hear the complete truth. White lies may be desirable.” I Cannot Tell a Lie - what people with autism can tell us about honesty By Simon Baron-Cohen

'Autistic people find it hard to lie and find it difficult to tell if you are deceiving them, as they are literal thinkers.' But I know autistic people who are really good at lying! So am a bit confused on this point.

I’m not good a big lies. But little white ones I'm an expert! When someone asks me how I am I nearly always say, 'I'm fine thanks.' Even if I have spent half the night cleaning shit off the ceiling, and trying to advert a head banging frenzy, I've had to throw away my latest culinary master piece that I really thought he would eat this time, or trying not to be upset when I have heard someone mutter something derogatory about my son as they walk past. And Ive had only 4 hours sleep in 2 days. I’ve just found it easier to smile and say I’m fine!

How To Spot a Liar:

1. No eye contact. His eyes will look away. If the room has a means of egress - that's where they'll look.
2. Crossing of arms and/or legs (a protective instinct).
3. The pupils of the eyes will narrow. Lying is stressful.
4. Hands on the face, especially the mouth. They are "covering" the lie.
5. Talking fast. A liar wants to get it over with.
6. Sometimes the head will nod a "no" when answering a "yes" question or visa versa. This is a subconscious movement.
7. Mispronouncing the words or mumbling. A liar kind of thinks he is not lying when he pronounces words incorrectly or mumbles.
8. Overstated friendliness/laughing. He wants you to believe and he wants you to like him so you will believe him.

60 comments:

Wayne said...

I watched a television show here in Germany one night on exactly this theme. It seems lying is a lot more common than most would believe.

DJ Kirkby said...

I can't lie but N3S seems to be very good at it already. Even on the autistic spectrum we are still all individuals!

MZUNGU CHICK said...

Personally I do think little white lies are essential and who in the world hasn't gone with "I'm fine" rather than get involved with the real truth of how you are really feeling?

Preseli Mags said...

I always learn something from your blogs! Total honesty is sometimes too brutal. White lies sugar the pill, perhaps. But when someone asks: "How are you?" They're not really expecting the full truth are they?

Elissa - Managing Autism said...

I find it very difficult to lie - if ever I try, I do the fast talking thing and get extremely anxious.

I tend to do a fair amount of the "I'm fine" thing too!

Jen said...

I was almost excited the first time that I heard my daughter lie about anything- she's so brutally honest that it definitely does hurt her in social situations.

I think that sometimes little white lies grease the wheels of social situations- I'm not sure whether we'd even be able to have a society without them. The truth is that a lot of people don't really want to know when they ask how you are doing.

Jeni said...

Do you realize you just posted 8 ways to detect George W. Bush, ye olde DUBYA? Very good.

bullet said...

"1. No eye contact. His eyes will look away. If the room has a means of egress - that's where they'll look.
2. Crossing of arms and/or legs (a protective instinct).
3. The pupils of the eyes will narrow. Lying is stressful.
4. Hands on the face, especially the mouth. They are "covering" the lie.
5. Talking fast. A liar wants to get it over with.
6. Sometimes the head will nod a "no" when answering a "yes" question or visa versa. This is a subconscious movement.
7. Mispronouncing the words or mumbling. A liar kind of thinks he is not lying when he pronounces words incorrectly or mumbles.
8. Overstated friendliness/laughing. He wants you to believe and he wants you to like him so you will believe him."

A lot of these could be out down to nerves, personal preference (I fold my arms and legs and out my hand to my mouth because it's comfortable) or general difficulties with the environment and nowt to do with lying.
I got 81 on the honesty quiz :D. I'll tell small lies sometimes, but I've found if someone asks for my oopinion about something which I don't like and I want to spoare their feelings I'll find something about it that's ok and comment on that.

alan said...

I think most of us do the "I'm fine" thing, though I also tend to reply "All right so far" a lot of nights at work...

Being a very non-confrontational person, I will bite my tongue for a long time before I say things that need to be said...much too often for my own good I fear at times!

alan

buffalodickdy said...

I'm not a very good liar. People who lie like to avoid confrontation and usually is why they lie in the first place. However, when you must lie about something, the best way to be convincing is to first convince yourself it's not a lie!

Basil Brush said...

Hiya
Do you know how to tell when a politician is lying??
Their lips move!
Boom Boom!! :O))

BBC said...

""When someone asks me how I am I nearly always say, 'I'm fine thanks.'"

Sometimes I like to say, "Not worth a damn, but thanks for asking". That often gets a chuckle.

I'm big on honesty and not lying, some people can handle that and some can't, what ever.

I watched a movie on my trip, "The Good Girl". She lied a lot and got away with a lot, people like that bother me.

Mel said...

"We call it tact or social graces."

LOL
This must be why I'm told I lack both of those things, huh?

The great thing about answering that "how are you?" truthfully.......is people stop asking!
Works for ME!

kristina said...

I say the same "I'm fine" no matter what and move on----but the main thing is, you're honest about C and clear about your love and all you do. A passel of white lies come and go.

inherwritemind1 said...

This is very interesting because we were watching Sixty Minutes last night. Roger Clemens, the baseball pitcher, was being interviewed by Mike Wallace about the use of steroids. Clemen's former trainer has said that he gave Clemens shots of human growth hormones. Clemens denies it.

I was watching him closely during the interview, looking for signs that he was lying. I could find none, and even mentioned it to my husband.

Clemens will testify in court soon. It will be interesting to see if anyone believes him. I do.

craig andrew said...

I'm going to say that honesty is a virtue for one reason,.. and one reason only;

I can't tell a lie to save my life. So, it is in my best interest that everyone thinks it bad. C:)

G-Man said...

Hahahahaha
I sell cars for a living!

...OK, no subtle undertone there...I always tell the truth, It's easier to remember..G

laughingwolf said...

parents are forever telling li'l white lies, trying to protect their wee ones... it's the big ones that screw up just about everything :(

Wooly Works said...

I get hung up on "the truth" as I see it and when it has to do with my own perceptions and "a truth" as it concerns things that will always be true. For example, a person is more valuable and important than my opinions about them. I strongly believe that this is a "truth". Is telling them a lie (when it has to do with my own perceptions) in order to spare their feelings dishonest? Interesting topic for debate I think.

Odat said...

I deal with this type of thing in my job everyday....It's a tough thing to do... to figure out who's lying and who's telling the truth... Thanks for the info.

Peace

aims said...

That was a tough test -

Norah said...

I don't get why they say that autistics can't lie. It's just not true. Some can and some can't. If they can't, does that mean they don't try? Do they mean can't or don't anyway? If they don't, does that mean they can't?

I can lie, and damn well too. My brothers were always bad at it, but they tried to anyway. They got a bit better with age. All of us are autistic.

Norah said...

Oh yeah, and that test how to spot a liar doesn't look very effective at all.

Gledwood said...

Well all that bodylang' stuff rings true to me...

hey Mother of Shrek we meet again... I come here via the little monkey's blog if ya know whatteye mean

man my eyes are all a-zappin' too much screengazin' for sure

take it easy

I know I probably said this before but WOW ANOTHER BRIT BLOGGER. Wahey!!

:-/

:-\

Preposterous Ponderings said...

I would make a horrible liar.

I believe in honesty all the way.Hence the reason I need to think more before I blurt certain things out.

Ok,well I guess I do sugar coat things at times.

Ian Lidster said...

Her bum does look big in that, but I don't mind one bit.

As for the "I'm fine" response, we used to use this acronym when I was in the addictions field:

F -- fucked up
I -- insecure
N -- neurotic
E -- emotional

I agree with the points you make, my dear friend. And, as a man, there is one time when we must always lie (no, not that one), but when a wife or girlfriend asks: "Does this outfit make me look fat?"

Gledwood said...

What do you mean "I have a butchers"...? I don't OWN one... is that what you were getting at? There is one near me... and they sell BRAINS ... ukk I cannot speak about this anymore I'm sorry they are utterly GROSS!

please come by again and I promise NOT to be posting about raw brains!!

;->...

Diari del Votant Anònim said...

Interesting and usefull everyday. Thanks!

Meredith said...

Well...lol! The "no eye contact" thing made me think "uh-oh, then I, like, lie ALL THE TIME!" :-D

Seriously, eye contact is overrated. And I frequently mispronounce words or stutter when excited. I wanna talk fast because my thoughts are running and jumping in a frenzy so I hardly can contain/grasp them then!

As for lies... yes, lying is hard. Especially those insignificant "white" ones. One thing: what's the point in deceiving someone you care for?! And how you know when is it a "white" situation and when is it a real question?

As for "how are you?"s, I find it very annoying when they ask how my life is going and then don't wait for the correct, elaborate answer. They kind of use the question as a greeting here, and it drives me up the wall; I find myself talking into thin air when describing the experiences I got since we last met; the asker just disappears. Nowadays I don't feel like answering at all, they don't care anyway. That's my trouble with all other greetings as well. Why do people display that they noticed me, and why do they break my train of thought, just to run away and not stay for at least an hour-long conversation? I mean, if you want to seriously talk with me, then do it; otherwise, don't interfere with my world.
Rant over :-)

Omega Mum said...

The only thing that worries me is what if all the liars have read this, too, and modify their body lanaguage accordingly?

Jade said...

I love autistic honesty! It is so humbling. I remember one very clear time during the summer in which I didn't shave my legs that morning. One of my clients was rubbing my shin when he looked up and said "Jenn needs lotion." No lotion was needed just a shave! lol, but he was there to let me know it was needed.

Ohhh...I love it..
Happy Monday to you!

LittleBrownDog said...

Hmmm - the truth is an interesting concept; rarely pure and hardly ever simple. One of the reasons I enjoy writing fiction is that you can play around with 'what ifs'. Sometimes the truth is not exactly where you think it is.
I'm partially deaf, so if someone is mumbling and covering their mouth with their hands, I won't understand what they say - so there's no point in lying to me!

A fascinating and thought-provoking blog, Casdok, as ever.

Chris H said...

I try not to ever ask someone how they are.. unless I really want the answer! Too many people ask but don't really care how you are... it's a throw away comment. And we all say "fine".... which of course is not true 99% of the time... we could be really really happy, or sad, pissed off, tired etc etc! I usually tell it like it is if someone asks me! Sometimes they look shocked when I actually tell them how I am! Well... they did ask!!! As for the lying.. seems I lie a bit! White lies I promise!

mommy~dearest said...

I don't know if I buy that "Autistics can't lie" deal. Jaysen can lie to me while looking me dead in the eye, even if he's caught red-handed. Sooooo frustrating, but I know where he gets it from- his mum was a good liar long ago...

Amanda said...

took me a long time to figure out when people ask "how are you?"
they dont really want to know.

some autistics can lie just fine.

not sure i agree about the lack of eye contact being a "sign"

graceunderautism said...

Our problem is that J doesn't understand when he is telling a lie. He is a people pleaser so he will say what he thinks is the right answer. Like last night when he got in trouble for throwing toys at a friend. I asked is that a nice thing? and he says, "yes." He thinks yes is a better word than no so to him it is true.

WesterWitch/Headmistress said...

Lying is amazingly common we all do and best of all to ourselves. I don't like people who lie though. I was brought up to believe it was wrong and was really shocked when I grew up and discovered that people were quite comfortable lying. Then again there is the white lie . . .tricky - if I know someone has told me a white lie - I still can't trust them . . . .

Hammer said...

Thanks for the tips on catching liars. I did not know all of those.

I think I've seen some car salesmen doing all of the above.

Celticspirit said...

That's a neat list to have on how to tell if a person is lying. I feel too guilty if I lie and I'm not good at it at all. Which might just be a good thing. Your blog is looking good!

motherx said...

Im pretty good at lying when I have to but the truth is normally seen in my expres. My eldest lies about little things ALL the time to get his younger brother into trouble! so yes! some autistic children are very good at lying! My face normally says, "Im saying this because I HAVE to, but its NOT what I think or whats happening!" So lying in words comes easy...thats about it.

Ange said...

wow, I pretty much do all of those things listed when I'm telling the truth. Maybe I'm just lying to myself?!?!?

Angela said...

Sometimes I just say fine too becaus I am pretty sure they don't actually care how I am anyway
well unless it is a good friend or family

leslie said...

absolutely yes, your bum looks big in that! There! I don't lie! ;D

Paula said...

Yep, I tell white lies daily. Like you, I'm not good at those big ones. I would rather like to sleep at night instead!
This is my first visit to your site and I have completely enjoyed myself. Thanks so much for commenting on my site and getting me over here!
Have a great day...

Get Off My Lawn! said...

There is truh in everything, even the falsehoods. Neil Gaiman wrote "never trust a story teller, always trust the story". The trick is not discerning the difference, the trick is in seeing conflicting truths and giving them both credence.

whimsicalnbrainpan said...

I can't lie about big things, little things no problem.

Joan said...

I'm of the belief that little white lies to protect the feelings of others seem acceptable as long as no harm is done. With this said...I'm a terrible liar...my eyes always seem to give me away.

vivavavoom said...

I got a 56 on that quiz....not sure what that means. My son, who is 7, is a horrible liar. He also has sensory integrative disorder and cognitive delays. His sister, who will be 3 in April, and who is ahead of the curve (whatever that means) is better at lying than him.
But what stuck me from your entry is how much I think you need a break. Do you have anyone to watch C so you can have an afternoon to yourself?

TheBirdman33 said...

Lieing is so stressful to me, that I don't do it. Past, "I was late cause I hit traffic" when I really was just watching an extra 10 minutes of tv. I don't want to (or can't) deal with the stress of lieing. And in todays world, that usually works against me. Cause I expect to be taken at face value, so I take people at face value and they are usually lieing. It sucks balls.

Eileen said...

The quiz was interesting. In a nice way it was telling me that I was a liar because I don't want to hurt people's feelings, that I need to toughen up and say what I really think. I thought I did that, but it was how I said it. Now I have to really think about this.

Roger said...

Hey I going to use those tips on lying at my next poker game!

Pavel said...

This is an interesting topic, Casdok. My big guy does have trouble not lying sometimes and I've tried to explain about how telling the absolute truth to someone can be hurtful. It's a hard lesson for him to grasp, but I think he's understanding it more and more.

Jocelyn said...

I try very hard not just to answer "Fine, thanks" when asked; giving a more honest answer invariably ends up with more genuine conversation.

So what lies have you heard from your son?

misha_k said...

I've told my share of white lies over the years. And I can't believe that autistics don't lie. I know J does. I've caught him in them.

Casdok said...

Vi,
Thank you, I do. I take C back to boarding school today so will be able to recharge my batteries for a few weeks.

Jocelyn,
my son cant talk or use signs etc Nor would he beable to understand the question. But thank you for asking!

Meredith said...

As for the quiz, what the hell has downloading for free to do with lies?! My philosophy is "freedom of data, fredom of mind" which means my uTorrent is running even now and I think of RIAA and CAN! just about the same way. Why does this make me a liar and not those who earn a lotta bucks from advertising and other crap?

Geez.

Gledwood said...

man you get a LOT of comments!

and half full of people I know or recognize...

isn't the bloggersphere a bit like being at school

ie there's lots of people you know

a few maybe you would LIKE to know but they ignore you

and lots and lots you know by sight but don't really know at all...


that's what your comments is like!!

;->...

Patti said...

I got 100 on the test!!


OK, I lied. But I did get 94. ;-)

Dad Stuff said...

Our Number One Son was our truth machine. He hadn't even considered lying until around 2nd grade.
His little sister, however, started at two years old and tried to involve her brother whenever it suited her.

Kelley said...

I think I should rename myself Mother of Shrek the younger.

Parallel lives babe. Parallel lives.