Being honest 'is better for mental and physical health'

Image: Getty Images
Image: Getty Images

According to experts at the University of California San Diego Emotion Lab, lying can have a negative effect on people’s mental and physical wellbeing, with people more likely to tell harmless fibs, known as prosocial lies, to avoid hurting other’s feelings.

The team focused on research conducted in 2012, with two studies looking into how these type of lies impact everyday life.

One study focused on when people told white lies and their level of compassion towards the person on the receiving end, discovering that higher compassion increased the chances of telling a lie.

Meanwhile, the second experiment went into more detail by looking at what it is about compassion that triggers people to be untruthful. Individuals’ traits were analysed to see if there was a difference in how they handle their empathy towards others, with one characteristic found identified as the desire to prevent damaging someone if they were to receive honesty.

“The effect of compassion on prosocial lying was partially mediated by the importance placed on preventing emotional harm that could occur as a result of their feedback,” the experts commented.

The University of Notre Dame published a study in 2012, looking into the link between lying and mental health and found out that people who were honest with loved ones were happier in their lives.

Over 100 participants were involved, aged between 18 and 71, with half instructed not to lie for 10 weeks while the rest served as a control group with no rules. The honest subjects reported better mental and psychical wellbeing, as well as revealing their personal relationships and social interactions had improved over the time period.

© Cover Media
We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24