The most common lie is the lie one tells to oneself.
In the preceding chapters, I have examined many factors that influence behavior and may predispose a person to telling a lie. From this material, it is obvious that everyone lies; the difference among people is in the frequency, target, and degree of those lies. In this chapter, I address various factors that influence the process of lying itself. Why do some people lie when the truth would serve them better? In these situations, it seems that the content of the lie is not as important as the telling of the lie itself. I review some general aspects of motivation and explore in greater detail some specific factors that determine motivation for deceit. These factors can lead to the occasional or situational lie of a "normal" person, or they can be so pervasively present as to cause compulsive deceptive behavior that affects the entire personality.