Know a lie, but trust most of the time

“Wouldn’t it be nice to know how to tell if someone is lying?” Science and psychology blogger Eric Barker turns to Maria Konnikova, author of the new book “The Confidence Game,” for advice on how to spot untruths and resist manipulation. He comes away with 5 research-based tips that can help, but warns that lie detection isn’t easy. There is no “magic bullet.”

The most basic tip: Actively trying to detect deception increases your ability to discover it.

Find all 5 tips

And if you want to be happy, Eric recommends using your lie-spotting skills only when necessary. Most of the time, it’s better to trust people. He quotes author Maria:

“It’s actually not good to spot deception. It’s much, much better to go through life with slightly rose-tinted glasses, to use a cliché?. The best evidence of how incredibly important and adaptive that is, is that the only subset of the population that doesn’t have this bias are clinically depressed. It’s one of those great ironies of this human condition: The very thing that makes you not just a successful, but a happy human being is the exact same thing that makes you vulnerable to con artists. Research shows extensively that being trusting actually correlates with all sorts of great things. It’s correlated with high intelligence. It’s correlated with happiness, with better health, with better life outcomes, so it’s very psychologically protective in some sort of way. We need to trust one another. We need to forge relationships, build connections. . . . most of the time you should trust those around you. Give people the benefit of the doubt. It’s the secret to more success, better relationships and a happier life.”

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