Curiosity Rover was the first man to ever walk on Mars. Wait a second! That’s not true. You thought so? You’re right. “Curiosity” is not a person, it’s a rover that NASA sent trekking the Red Planet for almost a decade. That’s correct. According to a new study, we’re more likely going to believe the lies we tell as the truth in as little as 45 minutes. Is that even true?
Related media: 10 Signs Someone Is Lying to You
Hips Don’t Lie
People lie all the time (that’s true), and telling the difference between the truth and a lie is a matter of, well, what you choose to believe. Sometimes the truth sounds like a lie, and a lie sounds like the truth. The truth is whatever we choose to believe.
In a 2018 study published by Brandeis University, researchers surveyed young people between the ages of 18-24, and old people, 60-92 years old. They asked both participants to answer a questionnaire either truly or falsely. The researchers later used electroencephalography (EEG) to monitor the brain activity of both the young and old participants. They found that the older participants were significantly more likely to accept a lie as the truth they told less than an hour earlier than the younger ones.
“Older adults have more difficulty distinguishing between what’s real and not real,” says Laura Paige, an associate professor of psychology at Brandeis University, and the study’s led author. “Once they’ve committed to a lie, it’s going to alter whether they remember doing something.”
Are We Even Lying? Hmm!
For the study, 42 participants, about half being seniors and half millennials, were given a 102-questionnaire about what they did the previous day, with questions like “Did you press snooze on your alarm clock?” and “Did you use a fork to eat lunch?” Almost half of the questions were randomly selected, then the researchers deliberately told the participants to lie.
After 45 minutes, the participants answered the same questionnaire again, this time round, the researchers told them to answer the questions truthfully — no lies. Here’s the catch: Did their lie stick? Or put it this way. When they lied the first time, did they realize that they’ve lied or did they now think that the lie was the truth? The results later revealed that the the older participants were more inclined to believe that the lie they told was the truth, but the young ones didn’t.
Paige says her findings suggest that telling a falsehood scrambles older people’s memory so they have a harder time recalling what really happened, in effect giving greater credence to the lie.
Thou Shalt Not Lie
In addition, the EEG data revealed that lying engaged the brain processes responsible for working memory. According to Paige, this finding suggests a lie can embed itself in memory and come to feel as real as the truth.
“Lying alters memory,” she says. “It creates a new memory for something that didn’t happen.”
The research appears in the journal Brain and Cognition.
Source: Brandeis University.
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Written by: Nana Kwadwo, Sun, Jun 30, 2019.