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Social Psychology

Paltering: The Art of Lying Truthfully | Rogers et al. (2016)

It might not be something we think about explicitly, but the act of lying is underpinned by a series of complex and intriguing psychological processes: goal-setting, social manipulation, theory of mind, memory, imagination.

Rogers et al. posit that there are three types of lie:

1 – Lying by Commission – actively making up a mis-truth.
2 – Lying by Omission – leaving out the truth
3 – Paltering – lying by telling the truth

Previous research has predominantly focused on the first two types of lying, but the current research has shown that people consider paltering to be a distinct form of lying and therefore it is an area of research which merits its own attention.

Over 50% of negotiators admit to lying within negotiations, and would prefer to use a palter (truth-lie), rather than an active lie of commission.

Paltering is considered to be more honest by the perpetrator, even though the recipient is likely to perceive the act as unethical, which can lead to significant reputation damage.