It is well known that people have a truth-bias. That is, people tend to believe what they hear, especially when dealing with an intimate partner (see, truth-bias).
New research reveals that when it comes to lying, a small percentage of people tell an outsized proportion of lies. The top 5% of liars are responsible for roughly 40% of the lies that are told.1
And the individuals who are more likely to lie are also more likely to cheat for personal gain and they are more likely to possess psychopathic traits (e.g., be manipulative, lack empathy, be impulsive, etc.).
The takeaway message?
In the real world, giving most people the benefit of the doubt is usually the right thing to do.
However, if you are dealing with an individual who lies a lot, the truth-bias may cost you dearly.
Ideally, it would be great if we could spot psychopathic individuals early on, but we usually come to know who we are dealing with, after the fact, when the damage as already been done.
1Halevy, R., Shalvi, S., & Verschuere, B. (2014). Being honest about dishonesty: Correlating self‐reports and actual lying. Human Communication Research, 40,54-72. Link to article.