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Expert: I study liars for a living, Trump's lies are especially cruel

There are lots of different kinds of lies and liars. Donald Trump is the worst of the worst.

In the study of liars, Donny Trump is a big winner. Not only does he lie 9 times more than the average person, but his lies are about 50 times more abusive. Trump’s lies are becoming so frequent and cruel that he is actually undermining our basic human instincts to believe in each other.

Even a veteran social scientists who has made a career in the study of liars is shocked by Trump’s level of shadiness. Bella DePaulo stuck to the public and provable falsehoods without including differences of opinion, or private off camera lies.

Even with some of his best lies ruled out, Trump still managed to excel. While the average among us is to tell 1.65 lies per day Trump began his presidency at 6 per day amping up to his current rate of 9.

Not only is Trump’s crowd of lies the biggest, they are also some very fine lies. Most remarkable is the contrast in cruelty between Trump and the average human. Most people use only about 1.25% of their lies to be hurtful, meaning the average person might at most tell 5 mean lies a year, while Trump is telling 4-5 hurtful lies a day. “The most stunning way Trump's lies differed from our participants', though, was in their cruelty. An astonishing 50 percent of Trump's lies were hurtful or disparaging,” Ms. DePaulo said.

Trump’s lies are also winners, while other people tell loser lies. While normal humans use 25% of their lies to help other people feel better, Trump wastes less than 10% of his lies being kind. Even that figure is generous, since his kind lies also fit in the category of self serving, but weren’t counted as such. Even with that credit, Trump still had a higher than average rate of self serving lies.

The lies are having results that Trump may not have intended. Polls show that only 37-40% of people believe Trump is honest, a departure from our human default setting to believe others aka our ‘truth bias’. “By telling so many lies, and so many that are mean-spirited, Trump is violating some of the most fundamental norms of human social interaction and human decency,” said Bella DePaulo. I’d like to add that I wouldn’t be surprised if we studied corporate executives and found similar results.

By Being Liberal contributor: Sarah Ficca

Read more “I study liars and I’ve never seen one like Donald Trump.“ By Bella DePaulo for Chicago Tribune, December 8, 2017.

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