The Bitter Truth According to Their Diaries, Most College Students Lie

Article excerpt

Moms, keep this in mind: The next time the kids call home from college, there's about a 50-50 chance they'll tell you a lie.

A study of University of Virginia college students found that when they talk to their mothers, they lie about once in every two conversations.

There's a consolation: They lie even more to strangers.

The study was based on diaries that 77 students who live away from home were asked to keep. University of Virginia researcher Bella DePaulo also asked 70 people in the Charlottesville area to do the same thing.

The college students didn't talk enough with their dads to permit a separate analysis of those conversations, DePaulo said.

She found that the closer her research subjects felt to the person they were talking to, the less they told lies about everyday things such as money and study habits.

Other research has shown that real whoppers - like lying about an affair - are more likely to be told to people the liar is closest to.

In explaining why her study suggests people may be more truthful in close relationships, DePaulo speculated that it may be harder to get away with lying when somebody knows you well. …