Brain May Become Desensitized to Dishonesty

The New York Times (10/25, A21, Goode, Subscription Publication) reports that research suggests individuals “who tell small, self-serving lies are likely to progress to bigger falsehoods, and over time, the brain appears to adapt to the dishonesty.” This “finding, the researchers said, provides evidence for the ‘slippery slope’ sometimes described by wayward politicians, corrupt financiers, unfaithful spouses and others in explaining their misconduct.”

The AP (10/24, Borenstein) reports that researchers “put 80 people in scenarios where they could repeatedly lie and get paid more based on the magnitude of their lies.” According to the AP, “They said they were the first to demonstrate empirically that people’s lies grow bolder the more they” lie. The investigators “then used brain scans to show that our mind’s emotional hot spot – the amygdala – becomes desensitized or used to the growing dishonesty.” The findings were published online in Nature Neuroscience.

TIME (10/24, Park) reports that the investigators “were even able to map out how each lie led to less amygdala activation and found that the decrease could predict how much the person’s dishonesty would escalate in the next trial.”

Related Links:

— “Why Big Liars Often Start Out as Small Ones,” ERICA GOODE, New York Times, October 24, 2016.

Posted in In The News.