Animals Lie

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This article is about the "Stomatopod crustacean", which lies by delivering empty threats to other members of the species for its own benefit.
Many people think that lying is a solely human trait, but this is not the case. Lying is a powerful survival method in nature, and many different kinds of animals lie in one way or another. Camouflage is a form of lying. So is changing size or color to appear more threatening. Certain physical or vocal cues which have a certain meaning, used out of context, are lies. So if animals do it, why shouldn't we?

Animals lie to:
- Ward off predators
- Get something they want (i.e. food, shelter, a mate, etc.)
- Avoid being overpowered by stronger members of the species

All of these reasons are valid reasons to lie, and none of these lies directly impact others negatively. If it works to the advantage of the liar, then why is it a problem? Life is selfish -- the top priority of any individual is oneself. Clearly, lying for selfish reasons is only natural. So is lying okay, if no one gets hurt?


My favorite blog so far is hillm109's blog, "Bypassing Broca's", because it was all about Hebrew, and I am very passionate about that subject. It contained emotion as well as science. I liked being able to relate to the topic.
My second favorite is leex5571's "Opposites Attract...Or do they?" because it challenges a popular belief. It caught my attention with the title, and made several interesting points on the topic. Also, it was short and to-the-point, which made it easy to read and understand.
My third favorite blog is "You Can't Process This with a Normal Brain" by rhode094. I like is because it discusses the mysterious topic of what happens to people's brains when they're in a vegetative state. The intrigue of the unknown was what drew me in.

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Well Mary, lying might become a more critical issue for social creatures like humans who depend on each other for their security, nourishment and well-being.

The main issue is trust. If you think about it, we put a lot of trust and faith in each other and expect people not to betray us. For the most part people do not take advantage of others by betraying trust. When they do, it can be a problem.

So you raise the question of whether a small lie can be told when it is adaptive to do so and when there are no consequences for others. And I agree that this happens all the time with little to no fallout.

Check out Danae's post on how often people lie everyday for some informed estimates

Even so, when we detect someone is lying, even if it is a little thing, that undermines our trust in that person. Since it is so difficult to know when others are lying, we heavily weight any indication of lying in others as a sign that they may deceive us when the stakes are higher in the future

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This page contains a single entry by rosen685 published on November 6, 2011 4:33 PM.

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Lie detector.. I mean Arousal detector is the next entry in this blog.

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