Sienna Stroud


deceptive behavior, lifespan, self-regulation, impression management, mental illness


Although lying is often studied in relation to malicious factors like crime, delinquency, and lie-detection, there may be people who lie without any antagonistic intentions. In those cases, other factors like age, self-regulation, and impression management may be at play. Some studies suggest that teenagers and children may be more likely to lie than adults because of a lower maturity or because of desires for autonomy rather than malicious intent (Dykstra et al., 2020; Levine et al., 2013). Other researchers propose that some may lie because of low levels of self-control or ego depletion (Fan et al., 2016; Welsh et al., 2014). It is also suggested that both self-regulation and ego depletion may be influenced by certain mental illnesses, which may then indirectly influence lying (Barnett, 2019; Jarrett, 2016; Remster, 2014). Furthermore, some studies propose that impression management may be a motive for deceptive behavior, especially among people with low self-esteem or social anxiety (Cantarero et al., 2018; Myers, 2011; Walczyk et al., 2016). People may also attempt to use exaggeration to impress others and foster better relationships (DePaulo et al., 2004). Thus, lying may not always be influenced by an intent to harm, but by age, low levels of self-control, and the desire to impress people. Future research on the non-malicious influencers of lying could provide insight into better treatment options for those who lie without malicious intent.

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