Why People Swear More When Lying

In an experiment, people who were lying used an average of about 5 times more profanity and were 5 times more likely to use third-person pronouns than people who were telling the truth, say Lyn M. Van Swol and doctoral candidate Michael T. Braun of the University of Wisconsin and Deepak Malhotra of Harvard Business School. The cognitive energy required for making a false statement may hinder censoring of inappropriate words, and pronouns such as “they” and “it” may help people distance themselves from a lie, the researchers suggest.

SOURCE: Evidence for the Pinocchio Effect: Linguistic Differences Between Lies, Deception by Omissions, and Truths

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