In the News (from Notre Dame News): “‘We found that the participants could purposefully and dramatically reduce their everyday lies, and that in turn was associated with significantly improved health,’ says lead author Anita Kelly, a Notre Dame psychology professor whose research includes the study of secrets and self-disclosure. …
“Approximately half the participants were instructed to stop telling both major and minor lies for the duration of the 10-week study. The other half served as a control group that received no special instructions about lying. Both groups came to the laboratory weekly to complete health and relationship measures and to take a polygraph test assessing the number of major and white lies they had told during that week. According to Kelly, Americans average about 11 lies per week.
“Over the course of 10 weeks, the link between less lying and better health was significantly stronger for participants in the no-lie group, the study found. For example, when participants in the no-lie group told three fewer white lies than they did in other weeks, they experienced on average about four fewer mental-health complaints, such as feeling tense or melancholy, and about three fewer physical complaints, such as sore throats and headaches, the researchers found. …
“The study also revealed positive results in participants’ personal relationships, with those in the no-lie group reporting improved relationship and social interactions overall going more smoothly when they told no lies.
“‘Statistical analyses showed that this improvement in relationships significantly accounted for the improvement in health that was associated with less lying,’ said Wang, who is a statistician.
“Participants said they realized they could simply tell the truth about their daily accomplishments rather than exaggerate, while others said they stopped making false excuses for being late or failing to complete tasks, Kelly said. Others said they learned to avoid lying by responding to a troubling question with another question to distract the person, she said.”
My Comment: It turns out that to indulge egoism in measurement is much more difficult and expensive than to go directly against it!