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Description: There are lies, damn lies, and statistics, right? But what about pandemic lies? How many lies have you been telling lately, and about what? How common do you think it is these days for people to lie about their health status or symptoms? Why might people be lying more these days than was the case before the pandemic? Once you have sorted out your hypotheses in relation to all these questions have a look at the linked article and see if it addresses any of your proposals.

Source: Are You Lying More in the Pandemic? Some Certainly Are, Derek Bryson Taylor, The Coronavirus Outbreak, The New York Times.

Date: September 11, 2020

Photo Credit:  Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Article Link:

So, what do you think about the possibility that there are pandemic-related conditions that serve as incentives for people to lie more? It is worth reflecting on something I have posted about previously; that being the number of deeply help social norms and conventions that have been challenged or simply taken off the social table by the circumstances associated with the coronavirus pandemic. This could be contributing to a tendency to lie to keep things “normal” or as they used to be. The line between the first two types of lies in my opening statement above can be a tricky one. Lots to think about.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What are some reasons that people might be lying more these days?
  2. Is the increase in rates of lying, if true, mainly due to health-related issues or might other issues be involved as well?
  3. How might recent increases in lying be related to changes in the appropriateness of social norms?

References (Read Further):

DePaulo, B. M., Kashy, D. A., Kirkendol, S. E., Wyer, M. M., & Epstein, J. A. (1996). Lying in everyday life. Journal of personality and social psychology, 70(5), 979. Link

O’Connor, A. M., & Evans, A. D. (2020). Dishonesty during a pandemic: The concealment of COVID-19 information. Journal of Health Psychology, 1359105320951603.

Feldman, R. (2009). The liar in your life: The way to truthful relationships. Twelve. Link

Ennis, E., Vrij, A., & Chance, C. (2008). Individual differences and lying in everyday life. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 25(1), 105-118. Link

Lewis, M. (2015). The origins of lying and deception in everyday life. American Scientist, 103(2), 128-135. Link

Goldberg, M., Gustafson, A., Maibach, E., van der Linden, S., Ballew, M. T., Bergquist, P., … & Leiserowitz, A. (2020). Social norms motivate COVID-19 preventive behaviors. Link

Lees, J., Cetron, J. S., Vollberg, M. C., Reggev, N., & Cikara, M. (2020). Intentions to comply with COVID-19 preventive behaviors are associated with personal beliefs, independent of perceived social norms. Link

van der Westhuizen, H. M., Kotze, K., Tonkin-Crine, S., Gobat, N., & Greenhalgh, T. (2020). Face coverings for covid-19: from medical intervention to social practice. bmj, 370. Link

Shadmehr, M., & de Mesquita, E. B. (2020). Coordination and Social Distancing: Inertia in the Aggregate Response to COVID-19. University of Chicago, Becker Friedman Institute for Economics Working Paper, (2020-53). Link