A recent study has revealed that 13 percent of people believe themselves to be pathological liars or are deemed so by people in their social circle. These people reportedly tell almost 10 lies every day.
The study titled 'Pathological Lying: Theoretical and Empirical Support for a Diagnostic Entity' was published in the journal Psychiatric Research and Clinical Practice. The sample set included 623 people and it cut across age groups, ethnicities, income levels and education levels. They were recruited from multiple mental health forums, social media platforms and an educational institute.
They were asked basic questions, such as if they considered themselves to be pathological liars or if others around them thought so. The respondents also had to fill out other questionnaires aside from taking a lie frequency test.
The research concluded that pathological liars are more prone to experiencing distress and impaired functioning in social situations, workplace, etc. The stress in their lives often revolves around the consequences of their lies getting discovered.
The pathological liars in the sample set revealed there is often no concrete reason behind their lies and most of it is a pile-on effect to cover a previous lie. Most pathological liars also claimed they started lying out of habit since their adolescence. Several people of the group also claimed that they have no control over this habit, hinting at a type of compulsiveness.
One must note that pathological lying has not been identified as a diagnostic entity yet, but the researchers involved in the study are looking to change that. They said: “We suggest that pathological lying should be defined as a persistent, pervasive, and often compulsive pattern of excessive lying behavior that leads to clinically significant impairment of functioning in social, occupational, or other areas.”
They added that such behaviour may also pose a risk to a person’s wellbeing and cited the example of how pathological liars are more likely to conceal suicidal thoughts.
Once pathological lying is formally recognised as a disorder, persons suffering from the condition would be able to get proper treatment by means of cognitive behavioural therapy, etc.