Compulsive Liars: The Truth About Lying

compulsive liars

“You’re a despicable liar!” These words, shouted by my 11-year-old cousin, John, were etched into my mind some forty years ago. Not because they stung, but because I was so struck by John’s impressive use of the word “despicable,” and the dramatic flair with which he hurled it at me. I distinctly remember that I felt falsely accused, but John did have reason to be miffed. Earlier that day, on our seaside vacation, his 13-year-old sister, Margaret, and I had been given $20 to share with our brothers at the arcade. Instead we took the money and ran. From inside the Chinese restaurant, where we spent the money on a sumptuous lunch, Margaret and I looked out the window to see the boys hunting for us; focused and angry, they walked by without spotting us. We thought this was hilarious. I have an even earlier memory of being deceptive: I was in a crib and I premeditated a fake cry so that the babysitter (a pretty teenager who was playing the guitar in the other room with her boyfriend) would come and pick me up. These are fairly normal deceptions for a child. Research shows that by the age of six months, children learn that they can manipulate adults’ responses to get what they want. (Read the full article at Psychalive.)

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