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Thread: Can a nihilistic/immoral attitude make you a better liar?

  1. #1 Can a nihilistic/immoral attitude make you a better liar? 
    Forum Ph.D. Raziell's Avatar
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    Lets say you are apathetic, ignorant and consider the value of the world and every person in it as zero/meaningless.

    Can this outlook on the world make you a better liar as you dont care about anyone including yourself? If you are both smart, perceptive and emotionally cold/apathetic - does it hide unconcious give-aways (when it comes to lying) that would normally be present in other people?

    Edit:

    Person A tells a lie and has feelings about it some way or another.
    Person B tells a lie and is completely emotionally detached from both moral values and thoughts about the consequenses of lying.

    Person A knows what is true and knows right from wrong.
    Person B cares not about truth or right or wrong. Person B thinks "It COULD have been true! So its actually true!" - even deceiving HIMSELF in the process.

    Edit2: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1235099/ Not sure if anyone here has seen this show. But to explain it shortly, its about a guy that can read if people are lying from hand gestures and facial expressions aswell as their voice and body temperature. For example shaking someones hand, if its cold - he is lying (fight or flight instinct, blood rushing to your feet). The series is fictional, but is said to have been based on real research.

    What Im wondering is if someone can reach the potential of lying as if it were true to a degree that even uncouncious body language is prevented.


    Last edited by Raziell; January 21st, 2013 at 05:20 PM.
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  3. #2  
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    It will take some effort to conjure lies, so there is still some subtle effect on our body when we lies. For example: our body will become abit rigid/stiff when we start to think, so if someone asked a simple question and you started to think, then it hinted to them that you might lie.

    Also, when someone asked us an emotional question then we will respond with a tiny tiny bit of emotion on our face before we decided to cover it up with another face. This also cue to other people whether you might lie.

    But,
    after soo many practice I guess one can lie with less and lesser effort. With less effort then the cue will be less visible. This IMO is not related to one's morality or ideas, but rather how good you are at making faces and making up story that make sense (this improve with practice).


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    Genius Duck Moderator Dywyddyr's Avatar
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    Sounds entirely plausible. Any reaction to lying is due to, in large part, a fear of being caught out and the consequences arising therefrom.
    If you can convince yourself, or not care about it at all, then the reactions won't happen.

    One piece of advice I remember about beating a lie detector was to answer, and think of, what specifically was asked, for example "Do you know where your alleged accomplice was at 11 PM?". The trick is to think, well I do know generally, he was robbing the bank, but exactly where in that building at that exact time, no I have no idea, and you can "truthfully" answer "no".
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    One should not lie against police because they already assume you are a liar and trusted nothing. What they'll do is just break you by interviewing you for hours and hours until you want to go home.
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    They might be able to become well-practiced in how to tell a lie without any giveaways, but better at lying? Doubtful. It really depends on the lie - and how many lies you have to tell to make that lie believable. That is why pathological liars actually just suck at lying - because they're creating fictional timelines that never actually happened. Then they have to remember that timeline. Then they sometimes need to add onto this fictional timeline to produce more context of the fictional event they claim actually happened.

    You can ask me something like: Did I like a movie. Let's say I liked it, but decided to instead say that I hated it.

    You: Did you like it?

    Me: I hated it.

    You: Why?

    Me: I don't know, just didn't like it (Less believable - a more successful at justifying the original lie) -or- Because I don't like Actor X (More compelling - less successful).

    You: So you just didn't like it because you didn't like it? (Now I might have to justify something just because it doesn't appear as if I have any reason, but we're going end this timeline here) -or- Why don't you like Actor X (Now I have to come with a reason for why I don't like Actor X)

    Me: I don't like actor X because reason Y (We'll say this satisfies you).

    -later-

    Me: I saw a good movie the other day.

    You: Oh really? Which one was it?

    Me: Movie B, it's great. (Now I give you reasons why I like it, possibly because it has actors I like).

    You: Doesn't that have Actor X in it?

    Me: Yeah it does, I like Actor X.

    You: I thought you didn't like Actor X.

    *People tend to forget that a lie isn't a one-time deal. Telling a successful lie means that you have to support that lie from that point on - and if somebody lies a lot, well... Good luck to them (They're going to need it).
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    In fact, the best liars are those who are, for want of a better word, empathetic. They're good liars because they have the "feel" for judging what others want to hear and either saying that or presenting themselves as acceptable to that. I call it 'salesman sensitivity' - they have the skill, maybe inborn, to push other people's buttons in a way that will advantage themselves. Very similar to the kind of 'cold reading' that psychics and magicians use.
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    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    In fact, the best liars are those who are, for want of a better word, empathetic. They're good liars because they have the "feel" for judging what others want to hear and either saying that or presenting themselves as acceptable to that. I call it 'salesman sensitivity' - they have the skill, maybe inborn, to push other people's buttons in a way that will advantage themselves. Very similar to the kind of 'cold reading' that psychics and magicians use.
    That could be true (not saying it isn't, but I haven't come across it).
    But, doesn't empathy imply some sort of two-way flow?
    I'd suggest that they might have the feel for what others want to hear, but that they don't actually care for others - IOW it's not "empathy" per se.
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    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    In fact, the best liars are those who are, for want of a better word, empathetic.
    I thought psychopaths (which seem to correspond to the OP's type B) could be convincing liars despite having no empathy; they understand enough to know what people want to hear and to fake it... (but I may be wrong).
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    The empathetic types are more likely to be included in a sociopath classification if they ever come under the notice of a psychologist, I would think.

    I think psychopaths can be successful because they really don't care about other people or what they think, so they're not given to tensions or giveaways or 'tells' when they lie because they're relaxed, unworried and in control.
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    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    I think psychopaths can be successful because they really don't care about other people or what they think, so they're not given to tensions or giveaways or 'tells' when they lie because they're relaxed, unworried and in control.
    I've always been under the impression that psychopaths tend to lie because they want you to think something that reinforces something about themselves. I get that the value of the lie is usually intrinsic, for instance, if I tell you a lie to reinforce my belief that I can make anyone believe anything - but in order to get this ego-boost, I need to believe that you believe me. Is this just flat-out wrong, or is there something I'm missing? I thought that psychopaths are so obsessed with their concept of self that anything contradicting it is not allowed to exist?
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    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    In fact, the best liars are those who are, for want of a better word, empathetic. They're good liars because they have the "feel" for judging what others want to hear and either saying that or presenting themselves as acceptable to that. I call it 'salesman sensitivity' - they have the skill, maybe inborn, to push other people's buttons in a way that will advantage themselves. Very similar to the kind of 'cold reading' that psychics and magicians use.
    Many child molesters are like that, extremely empathic and able to use it to manipulate neighbors, parents and children to consider them trustworthy and harmless.
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    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    The empathetic types are more likely to be included in a sociopath classification if they ever come under the notice of a psychologist, I would think.

    I think psychopaths can be successful because they really don't care about other people or what they think, so they're not given to tensions or giveaways or 'tells' when they lie because they're relaxed, unworried and in control.
    Jeez... And I'm both. Half the time, I don't give a damn and the other half of the time, I'm concerned about other people.
    Don't think I'd enjoy being psychoanalyzed on this forum... Although most of you do it in your head, anyway.
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    Quote Originally Posted by stander-j View Post
    I've always been under the impression that psychopaths tend to lie because they want you to think something that reinforces something about themselves. I get that the value of the lie is usually intrinsic, for instance, if I tell you a lie to reinforce my belief that I can make anyone believe anything - but in order to get this ego-boost, I need to believe that you believe me. Is this just flat-out wrong, or is there something I'm missing? I thought that psychopaths are so obsessed with their concept of self that anything contradicting it is not allowed to exist?
    To the best of my "knowledge" psychopaths aren't interested in validation because they essentially don't regard other people as people. Ergo, whatever others say or think is totally irrelevant - except as far as whether they're an obstacle or a help in achieving what the psychopath wants. Other people are merely objects, to be manipulated.
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    In order to lie convincingly you simply need to believe the lie yourself. I suspect that, if they choose to, any creative person can use their fertile imagination to convince themselves first. As a poster noted earlier, this is akin to selling. A successful salesperson must first sell the idea of the goods or or services to themselves. If they don't believe in them, their potential buyer certainly won't.
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt View Post
    In order to lie convincingly you simply need to believe the lie yourself. I suspect that, if they choose to, any creative person can use their fertile imagination to convince themselves first. As a poster noted earlier, this is akin to selling. A successful salesperson must first sell the idea of the goods or or services to themselves. If they don't believe in them, their potential buyer certainly won't.
    Alternatively, you can simply play a character that does believe in it. As child I used to be able to burst out crying during a defence of a lie.
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    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER View Post
    Alternatively, you can simply play a character that does believe in it. As child I used to be able to burst out crying during a defence of a lie.
    Hey, me too! I used to cry as a lie, and know it is a lie (and it cause somebody to be spanked. Soo sorry ;( . But turn out the spanking was a fake, adult is soo intelligent!).

    I think kids can be a real liar.
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    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER View Post
    Alternatively, you can simply play a character that does believe in it. As child I used to be able to burst out crying during a defence of a lie.
    I guess that means I would have to fall into the Method School of acting. I can't play a character with any conviction, but I can become a character.
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER View Post
    Alternatively, you can simply play a character that does believe in it. As child I used to be able to burst out crying during a defence of a lie.
    I guess that means I would have to fall into the Method School of acting. I can't play a character with any conviction, but I can become a character.
    You definitely are a character.

    I was thinking more though that playing characters is more ingrained in our psychology that one might realise. Whenever you attempt a change in your life of some sort for instance, you might conceptualise a character that has those attributes you desire and then you proceed to try and play it. I am thinking of people that get "saved" or people who change to a healthy lifestyle, etc, etc. The longer we play the character, the more it becomes part of who we are. I wonder if there is a term for something like this. I'll Google a bit later on.
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  20. #19  
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    [QUOTE=KALSTER;386959][QUOTE=John Galt;386956]
    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER View Post
    Whenever you attempt a change in your life of some sort for instance, you might conceptualise a character that has those attributes you desire and then you proceed to try and play it. ..... The longer we play the character, the more it becomes part of who we are. I wonder if there is a term for something like this.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by stander-j View Post
    I've always been under the impression that psychopaths tend to lie because they want you to think something that reinforces something about themselves. I get that the value of the lie is usually intrinsic, for instance, if I tell you a lie to reinforce my belief that I can make anyone believe anything - but in order to get this ego-boost, I need to believe that you believe me. Is this just flat-out wrong, or is there something I'm missing? I thought that psychopaths are so obsessed with their concept of self that anything contradicting it is not allowed to exist?
    To the best of my "knowledge" psychopaths aren't interested in validation because they essentially don't regard other people as people. Ergo, whatever others say or think is totally irrelevant - except as far as whether they're an obstacle or a help in achieving what the psychopath wants. Other people are merely objects, to be manipulated.
    I don't know for certain, but that might be misconception. I'm beginning to suspect that within the psychology community this is still a topic where opinions still widely differ. I think I'm going to peer into one of old texts for this one. In the meantime, I did find this on Google Books:

    Dangerous and Severe - Process, Programme and Person: Grendon's Work - Mark Morris - Google Books

    That should take you straight to pg. 183. It briefly describes the nature of the psychopathic ego. As a whole, the book discusses theraputic approaches that are used in HM Grendon. Supposedly the guy who wrote the book used to be the director of therapy at HM Grendon.
    Last edited by stander-j; January 22nd, 2013 at 07:35 AM.
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    Genius Duck Moderator Dywyddyr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stander-j View Post
    I'm beginning to suspect that within the psychology community this is still a topic where differing opinions are held.
    Ha! Which topic in the psychology community isn't one where differing opinions are held? That was one of the main difficulties I had on my course.

    In the meantime, I did find this on Google Books:

    Dangerous and Severe - Process, Programme and Person: Grendon's Work - Mark Morris - Google Books

    That should take you straight to pg. 183. It briefly describes the nature of the psychopathic ego. As a whole, the book discusses theraputic approaches that are used in HM Grendon. Supposedly the guy who wrote the book used to be the directory of the psychology programme at Grendon.
    Thanks for the link, that book post-dates my course - serve me right to stick with the last thing I came across.
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    The longer we play the character, the more it becomes part of who we are. I wonder if there is a term for something like this.
    That has links to both the general concepts of brain plasticity and to specific programs like Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.

    In common parlance - "Fake it till you make it." Often used to help people who are timid or shy.
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  24. #23  
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt View Post
    In order to lie convincingly you simply need to believe the lie yourself. I suspect that, if they choose to, any creative person can use their fertile imagination to convince themselves first. As a poster noted earlier, this is akin to selling. A successful salesperson must first sell the idea of the goods or or services to themselves. If they don't believe in them, their potential buyer certainly won't.
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    “Sincerity - if you can fake that, you've got it made.” - George Burns.
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    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER View Post
    Alternatively, you can simply play a character that does believe in it. As child I used to be able to burst out crying during a defence of a lie.
    I guess that means I would have to fall into the Method School of acting. I can't play a character with any conviction, but I can become a character.
    You definitely are a character.

    I was thinking more though that playing characters is more ingrained in our psychology that one might realise. Whenever you attempt a change in your life of some sort for instance, you might conceptualise a character that has those attributes you desire and then you proceed to try and play it. I am thinking of people that get "saved" or people who change to a healthy lifestyle, etc, etc. The longer we play the character, the more it becomes part of who we are. I wonder if there is a term for something like this. I'll Google a bit later on.
    This is the reason I dont believe in the "Be yourself" crap. If you want to become who you want to become you have to act like who you want to be until you become that person
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    Not sure a Nihilistic outlook on life or an immoral outlook would make you a better liar, just more prone to lie. If by repetition of lying and experience of it you get better at it then yes. I'm sure being a psychopath or sociopath would make you a better one certainly, assuming that moral triggers aren't set off in the brain. I use this assumption based on this video:

    Are You a Psychopath? Take the Test. - YouTube

    Assuming he is a credible psychologist and qualified and not talking woo.
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    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    The longer we play the character, the more it becomes part of who we are. I wonder if there is a term for something like this.
    That has links to both the general concepts of brain plasticity and to specific programs like Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.

    In common parlance - "Fake it till you make it." Often used to help people who are timid or shy.
    Thanks, I'll have a look at that. I have a feeling it is more central to us humans though, especially with our developed theory of mind abilities. There is an evolutionary reason actors can act.
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    Well, I am a bit nihilistic. And I like to tell myself and others that I am not a good liar. But sadly, the reality is, and this may shock NF, that I am really really really good at it when I need to be. However, I hate liars with a passion. They contaminate the data I use to interpret reality. If I don't know what reality is then what else is there. It severely throws off my sanity when someone successfully lies to me.

    When someone unsuccessfully lies to me, I assume they think I am a fool. So I take it as a very deep insult. Since I despise the behavior, and believe in treating people as I want to be treated I tend to lean more towards brutal honesty. However, with people who I don't generally give a damn about, and I am certain they don't give a damn about me, but for some reason I am forced to interact with them, and I do mean forced. I will be as likely as anyone else to tell a white lie. And because I have a reputation of being brutally honest even at my own expense, most people trust me wholeheartedly.

    This doesn't mean that I am a liar. But no human being always tells the truth. I simply have acquired a reputation of being more honest than most. I won't tell a lie that causes someone else pain or inconvenience, even to spare myself the same. But if some ugly hag asks me if they look pretty at that moment, I will most likely try to make them feel good about themselves, but if they are asking because they intend to go in for a modeling audition I will likely sugar coat the truth but still tell the truth, because the agent will be vicious and cruel.

    As far as nihilism is concerned, (had to look it up because I never heard what it actually was) I don't believe in morality or purpose of life. But I do believe we are all here for the time that we are and there is no reason to make our existence or the existence of others miserable just because we can. I believe in cause and effect. People who act like assholes aren't liked very much and usually things start going badly for them because other people don't want to deal with them. But sweethearts are able to get help when they need it. Sweethearts also get taken advantage of by assholes. I tend to float in between. I am usually sweet to people but the moment they reveal to me that they don't intend to return kindness to those who give it to them, they go on my list of people who I no longer deem worthy of my time or kindness and they will get from me exactly what I see them handing out to everyone else.
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    There are some people that simply cannot handle given truths in a moment and being totally honest with them can do more harm than good.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by stander-j View Post
    I'm beginning to suspect that within the psychology community this is still a topic where differing opinions are held.
    Ha! Which topic in the psychology community isn't one where differing opinions are held? That was one of the main difficulties I had on my course.

    In the meantime, I did find this on Google Books:

    Dangerous and Severe - Process, Programme and Person: Grendon's Work - Mark Morris - Google Books

    That should take you straight to pg. 183. It briefly describes the nature of the psychopathic ego. As a whole, the book discusses theraputic approaches that are used in HM Grendon. Supposedly the guy who wrote the book used to be the directory of the psychology programme at Grendon.
    Thanks for the link, that book post-dates my course - serve me right to stick with the last thing I came across.
    That is very true, your statement about differing opinions in the psychology community. After I had posted it, I was bothered by putting it that way. I think what I was looking for was that opinions differed widely - which I feel in a sense, is less than representative of the entire field of study. Whats even worse is Director of Psychology, good god... They say that things look better in the morning, but sometimes I have to wonder if they ever had my late-night comments in mind!
    "Cultivated leisure is the aim of man."
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