Lies!, Lies!!, Lies!!! The Psychology of Deceit

By Charles V. Ford | Go to book overview

Chapter 13
Effects of Deception

Convictions are more dangerous enemies of truth than lies.

-- Nietzsche

We presume that information is an advantage that results in an increased mastery of the environment and more power over competitors. For those who subscribe to this logic, self-deceit (lying to oneself) would appear to be self-defeating. How, then, could having inaccurate information be beneficial? In the following discussion, I explore this apparent paradox and investigate both the positive and negative effects of deceiving others.


Self-Deception and Self-Esteem

Why do we provide ourselves with false information? In fact, a major thrust of psychoanalysis as a therapeutic technique has been to increase an individual's insight, to bring that which was previously buried in the unconscious to the surface. It sounds heretical to suggest that self-deception might help regulate self-esteem and promote mental health, yet the data that support this suggestion are robust.

Alloy and Abramson ( 1979) found that nondepressed people, in

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Lies!, Lies!!, Lies!!! The Psychology of Deceit
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Preface xi
  • Chapter 1 - Everybody Lies 1
  • Summary 21
  • Chapter 2 - Defining Deceit: The Language of Lying 23
  • Summary 45
  • Chapter 3 - The Biology of Deceit 47
  • Summary 66
  • Chapter 4 - Learning to Lie: Developmental Issues in Deceit 69
  • Summary 86
  • Chapter 5 - Why People Lie. the Determinants of Deceit 87
  • Summary 101
  • Chapter 6 - Styles of Deception: The Role of Personality 103
  • Summary 129
  • Chapter 7 - Pathological Lying 133
  • Summary 146
  • Chapter 8 - Living a Lie: Impostors, Con Artists, and Persons with Munchausen Syndrome 147
  • Summary 170
  • Chapter 9 - False Memories, False Accusations, and False Confessions 173
  • Summary 194
  • Chapter 10 - Detection of Deceit 197
  • Summary 219
  • Chapter 11 - Technological Detection of Deceit 221
  • Summary 234
  • Chapter 12 - Therapeutic Approaches for the Deceitful Person 237
  • Summary 248
  • Chapter 13 - Effects of Deception 251
  • Summary 270
  • Chapter 14 - A Psychology of Deceit: Conclusions and Summary 271
  • Summary 283
  • Epilogue 287
  • References 289
  • Index 317
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