The costs of lying extend beyond burning pants. According to new research led by Anita Kelly, a psychologist at the University of Notre Dame who studies secrecy, self-disclosure, and self-presentation, telling lies—both little “white lies” and major deceptions—takes a psychological and physiological toll.
Kelly and her collaborators spent 10 weeks with 110 subjects of various ages and backgrounds. Half of the subjects were told to stop telling lies, both big and small, for the duration of the study. The other half was given no special instructions. Every week, both groups would come in for tests that assessed how frequently they had lied in the past week and measured their well-being.
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