Photo CC By Peter Durand
For my TED talk choice, I watched Pamela Meyer’s presentation “How to Spot a Liar.” I was shocked by the statistics Meyer provided on lying. She claimed that about one in ten interactions a married couple has will be accompanied by a lie. The percentage goes up for couples who are dating: approximately 33% of all interactions involve some sort of lie. Meyer said that couples are not the ones who lie the most, though. Strangers lie to each other more than any other group of people. In the average 10 minute conversation you strike up with a stranger, they will lie to you three or more times. Add all of the interactions you have up in a day, and you could be one of the people who fall under ‘average’ who are lied to up to 200 times (the specific statistic was between 10 and 200 times)!
Although after reading all of that you may feel like your hope in humanity is crumbling, don’t. But before I tell you why your concerns shouldn’t overwhelm you, I must make you worry even more. 😉 According to Meyer, humans are deceptive by the time of our first birthdays. By the age of one we learn that pretending to cry gets us what we crave. By the time we are two, we step up our game. By the time we are five, we can play people masterfully. By the age of 10, our deception knows no bounds. And once we reach adulthood … well there are plenty of examples of identity theft, fraud, adultery, and other acts of impressive deceit to show our capabilities of dishonesty. But, as I mentioned, humans aren’t just an awful, corrupt species according to Meyer. In fact, in her talk, Meyer told the story of Koko, the signing ape. Koko was given a pet kitten. Koko was also given a sink. Koko ripped the sink from the wall. When asked who did this deed, Koko signed that it was her kitten. So fear not! Any living being is proficient in the art of lying, not just humans!
I chose to watch this TED talk on a whim. A few days ago on the radio, I heard that the average person tells 10 lies. When looking through a list of TED talks, I saw Meyer’s and was reminded of this statistic. Her talk was interesting, but also inspiring. Her hope in providing all of the information she did is to motivate people to lie less and trust more. I know that (at least for the next few days) I will be hyper-conscious of the truth!