Motivation and Consequences of Lying. A Qualitative Analysis of Everyday Lying

Beata Arcimowicz, Katarzyna Cantarero, Emilia Soroko


This article presents findings of qualitative analysis of semi-structured interviews with a group of "frequent liars" and another of "rare liars" who provided their subjective perspectives on the phenomenon of lying. Participants in this study previously had maintained a diary of their social interactions and lies over the course of one week, which allowed to assign them to one of the two groups: frequent or rare liars. Thematic analysis of the material followed by elements of theory formulation resulted in an extended lying typology that includes not only the target of the lie (the liar vs. other) but also the motivation (protection vs. bringing benefits). We offer an analysis of what prevents from telling the truth, i.e. penalties, relationship losses, distress of the lied-to, and anticipated lack of criticism for telling the truth. We also focus on understanding moderatorsof consequences of lying (significance of the area of life, the type of lie and capacity to understand the liar) that can be useful in future studies.



thematic analysis; semi-structured interviews; lying typology; motivation for lying

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Copyright (c) 2015 Beata Arcimowicz, Katarzyna Cantarero, Emilia Soroko

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