The Liar in Your Life

Monday, August 03, 2009

Psychology professor Robert Feldman, one of the world's leading authorities on deception, offers insights into how and why we lie, and how our culture has become increasingly tolerant of deception. In his new book, The Liar in Your Life: The Way to Truthful Relationships, he examines marital infidelity, little white lies, resumé lies, self-deception, and how children learn to lie.


Robert Feldman,

Comments [18]

Justin S from Manhattan

The distinction between on the liars Nixon and Clinton that was discussed on the show but the conversation was cut short. I thought it was interesting. For Leonard, Nixon/Watergate was the most important watershed for the acceptance of lying in American culture. Feldman said he believed it was really Clinton/Lewinsky that was more important and I think he's right--Nixon was forced to resign for his lie. Clinton personally never faced any real consequences--and now he is widely loved. He showed America that you can lie, get caught and not ever have to pay for it.

Aug. 04 2009 08:07 AM
Frank W. from NYC

I forgot to add: We all got up and left!

Aug. 03 2009 02:52 PM
Frank W. from NYC

Recent Situation: 4 friends sharing a meal in a local restaurant. One guy, notorious for expressing his "honest" feelings regardless of the situation or the sensitivity of others, was delivering a particularly foul admonishment of a friend at the table. In front of all, he proceeded to deride our friend. Total humiliation seemed to be the objective. It was a most disgraceful and selfish display of 'honest expression'. Oddly enough, the antagonist, as usual, remains quite convinced that he was slighted, disrespected, & unimaginably 'wronged'. Here's my take on it: Being consistently 'honest' is a very subjective stance. It can be incredibly cruel to 'spew' your total honesty upon people. Like anything else, there is a time and a place. Sometimes Honesty is merely a point of view!

Aug. 03 2009 02:49 PM
Paul from Queens

I take the discussion to be between total bluntness - which makes no sense - to some DEGREE of lying. I might guess that lying in business is more prevalent than in some other situations. (ie - people with an over-developed ego often think or deceive themselves to think they should be in charge).

So - it is the degree of lying and the situation that is critical. I hope my doctor is fairly blunt to me - that is his job. I expect a sales person to twist the truth - in a way, that is his job.

Aug. 03 2009 02:15 PM
mozo from nyc

alex -- Interesting point. Honestly.

Aug. 03 2009 02:02 PM
ralf from patchog ny

i think they're both lying.

Aug. 03 2009 02:01 PM
Sue from BrooklynI

Do we really want to live in a world where people tell the blunt truth about everything, all the time? I agree that there's an ugly slippery slope to compulsive lying, but there are some social situations where not commenting at all isn't acceptable, and where a white lie (yes, I really enjoyed the evening, thanks) is called for. If someone asks you if you like a dish at dinner, do you lie if it's going to cause offense? I try to just not offer up the "you look great" comments when they would be lies, and automatically discount the comments like that I hear myself, but I also feel that a society where everyone felt compelled to be blunt all the time would be one we find as hard to deal with as one characterized by a lack of trust. And just as I don't believe that smoking a joint automatically leads to hardcore drugs like crack or heroin for all, I'm not convinced that those social white lies that are unavoidable lead to major life lies (no, of course I'm not cheating about you; yes of course I graduated top of my class at Harvard).

Aug. 03 2009 02:00 PM

the philosopher harry frankfurt considers bull**** more insidious than lying - because lying shows some understanding of (if betrayal of) the truth, whereas bull**** just makes truth slippery. thoughts?

Aug. 03 2009 01:58 PM
....pants on fire from westcheser

As stated by Phillis, Ignorance is Bliss

Aug. 03 2009 01:57 PM
....pants on fire from westcheser

your guest's examples of people "lying back to being lied to" is utterly stupid and petty. If people want to be around situation of such debasement...clearly truth isnt better than fiction.

Aug. 03 2009 01:56 PM
....pants on fire from westcheser

people can ask for the truth...but they really dont want it.

Aug. 03 2009 01:52 PM
mozo from nyc

"The truth is what is. What should be is a dirty lie."

-- Lenny Bruce

Aug. 03 2009 01:51 PM
Phyllis from NYC

So what is so good about truthfulness, or truth, for that matter?

Aug. 03 2009 01:47 PM
Tom from UWS

I have always love the expression, "He lies when the truth would sound better."

I know a person this applies to = lying is such a habit for her, that shed seems not to have a clue she is doing it.

Aug. 03 2009 01:43 PM
....pants on fire from westcheser

wait....what's that again??? "a lie is something you dont believe"??? Is that what a lie is??

Aug. 03 2009 01:43 PM
mozo from nyc

Everyone lies and no one listens. Society couldn't exist otherwise.

Aug. 03 2009 01:41 PM
John-Paul G from Elizabeth, NJ

Lies and deception aren't solely the act of humans. Many animals use deception as a way of survival. Perhaps there's something very natural to humanity's use of lies as a survival tool.

Aug. 03 2009 01:07 PM
Yvette from Barecelona

Mmmmmmm.......interesting. World full of deception and deceiving. What else is new?!

Aug. 03 2009 09:42 AM

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