Lying: Everyone does it, even though we know we shouldn't.
So what makes us do it?
Desire for acceptance, preservation of self-esteem, not wanting to get in trouble -- any number of things can play a part. But according to a new study that will be published in the journal Psychological Science, time is a huge factor.
Researchers at the University of Amsterdam and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev conducted experiments where study participants rolled dice for money. In one of the experiments, participants had to roll the die three times, and the researchers weren't able to see what numbers they rolled. The participants only had to report the first roll, but the higher the number they reported rolling, the more money they got.
Some of the participants were put under a time crunch and were only given 20 seconds to report their first roll, while the other participants were given as much time as they wanted or needed to report the first roll.
Even though the researchers were blinded to what the study participants actually rolled, they were able to surmise whether they lied or not by comparing their answers with the answers one would have gotten from fair rolls where there is no lying involved.
By using this technique, they found that the ones who were put under a time crunch were the most likely to lie about rolling a high number (although the ones who were given unlimited time lied, too -- just not to the extent of those with the time limit).
"People usually know it is wrong to lie, they just need time to do the right thing," study researcher Shaul Shalvi, of the University of Amsterdam, said in a statement.
Research shows that there are benefits of honesty beyond relationships and friendships. According to a recent study presented at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association, honesty is linked with better mental and physical health.
"Recent evidence indicates that Americans average about 11 lies per week. We wanted to find out if living more honestly can actually cause better health," study researcher Anita E. Kelly, Ph.D., a psychology professor at the University of Notre Dame, said in a statement. "We found that the participants could purposefully and dramatically reduce their everyday lies, and that in turn was associated with significantly improved health."