We often hear the statistic that people tell one to two lies per day. But a new study on lying shows that this number of lies is an average. In a given day, most people don’t tell any lies, while almost half the lies are told by only 5% of the population.
Of course, this is what people report that they do. They could be lying.
The Prevalence of Lying in America: Three Studies of Self-Reported Lies
This study addresses the frequency and the distribution of reported lying in the adult population. A national survey asked 1,000 U.S. adults to report the number of lies told in a 24-hour period. Sixty percent of subjects report telling no lies at all, and almost half of all lies are told by only 5% of subjects; thus, prevalence varies widely and most reported lies are told by a few prolific liars. The pattern is replicated in a reanalysis of previously published research and with a student sample. Substantial individual differences in lying behavior have implications for the generality of truth-lie base rates in deception detection experiments. Explanations concerning the nature of lying and methods for detecting lies need to account for this variation.
From Human Communications Research, at Wiley Interscience (for purchase)>>