shhh2Much has been made of the Ashley Madison Hack, and the millions of users exposed in the hack. This angle has been beaten to both a timely and appropriate death and is no longer worthy of discussion. What has not been discussed, at least to this writer's knowledge, is the lying and deceptive behavior perpetrated by those on the site and similar others. It is fairly safe to assume that many Ashley Madison users were lying to at least someone about their use of the site. What remains known is the types of lies Ashley Madison users were telling. Lying has an underlying lexical typology, and lies fall into different categories. This article serves as a brief introduction to the types of lies being told by the typical Ashley Madison user. It is important to educate the general public about various lying typologies so they can garner a better understanding of why individuals lie.

 

 

People Lie Because They Gain From It

According to scholarly research, lies fall into two broad overarching categories. Lies are told either to avoid disclosing some type of personal information or for the purposes of self-gain/impression management.  People lie so they do not have to tell others what is really happening, and they lie because they can gain something from telling the lie whether materially or psychologically.

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Looking at lies in the context of the Ashley Madison hack, the following can be determined. Individuals on the site likely lied to others because they did not want to disclose their purposes for being on the site, or their actual presence on the site. Individuals who lied about their presence on the site also likely lied to manage others impressions of them. The majority of society does not look too kindly on adultery and sites that facilitate this type of behavior similar to Ashley Madison. Individuals on the site probably lied about their involvement with the site so as not to lose social status and others favorable impressions of them. An extreme example of an individual who lied in this manner is Josh Duggar, who likely did so to avoid bringing shame to himself and his family.

Jared From Subway Was An Esteemed Spokesman

It is possible, that if  Ashley Madison users were lying about using the site, the content of their profiles was also not entirely truthful. Look at some like Jared from Subway, who was a highly esteemed corporate spokesman for over 15 years before information about his private life was brought public.  The same goes for lies told for self-gain and impression management. The typical Ashley Madison user was probably middle class and stuck somewhere in middle management. In order to appear "appealing" on their profiles they probably enhanced their credentials, and financial standing to some degree. This is a perfect example of impression management.

...experts on lying can only identify lies accurately around 50% of the time.

How can one avoid being victims of these types of lies? If only if it was as simple as being able to decipher whether or not someone was lying and their motivations for lying. Unfortunately, even the most seasoned experts on lying can only identify lies accurately around 50% of the time. That's a essentially a flip of the coin. However, if an understanding can be gained about why an individual might be lying, their motivations for lying will be more likely to come to light. Some examples of these types of people might look as follows: A person who always seems to have something to hide might by lying for the purpose of avoiding disclosing pertinent information. Another person who always seems to get amazing opportunities and is constantly bragging either in-person or on social media might be lying to manage the impressions of others. While most people are truthful and only have the best of intentions, there are others who lie for a variety of reasons. As discussed above, lies of Disclosure and lies for Self-Gain/Impression Management are two of the more prominent reasons people lie.

Story by Lina

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