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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Lying Can Make Your Health Suffer

Biblical lying about Joseph's cloak.

Researchers recently determined that avoiding lying can make you healthier. (As a side note, previous research has shown that the average American lies 11 times a week.)
"It's certainly a worthy goal to have people be more honest and more genuine and interact with others in a more honest way," says psychologist Robert Feldman of the University of Massachusetts. "That would be ultimately beneficial.”
Each week for 10 weeks, 110 individuals, ages 18-71, took a lie detector test and completed health and relationship measures assessing the number of major and minor lies they told that week.
Researchers instructed half the participants to "refrain from telling any lies for any reason to anyone. You may omit truths, refuse to answer questions, and keep secrets, but you cannot say anything that you know to be false." The other half received no such instructions.
Over the study period, the link between less lying and improved health was significantly stronger for participants in the no-lie group, the study found. When participants in the no-lie group told three fewer minor lies than they did in other weeks, for example, they experienced, on average, four fewer mental-health complaints and three fewer physical complaints. Mental health complaints included feeling tense or melancholy; physical complaints included sore throats and headaches.
Painting depicts Biblical story of Joseph's brothers lying about his blood-smeared tunic, by Diego Velazquez, 1630.

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