Fudging The Truth Makes People Like You Less

It’s better to just tell the full truth, science says so. Researchers from Harvard found that when people distort the truth without actually lying, which is officially called paltering, it’s viewed as just as deceptive as a straight-up lie by others. Paltering is common in negotiations and in politics. When the scientists had study participants to role-play as deceivers and deceivees, they discovered participants felt better about paltering rather than lying by commission (using false statements), but when their deception was revealed, their counterpart graded them just as negatively as if they’d lied by commission. Lead study author Todd Rogers writes, “When individuals discover that a prospective negotiation partner has paltered to them in the past, they are less likely to trust that partner, and, therefore, less likely to negotiate with that person again. When someone appears to answer your question but doesn’t address the exact, narrow details, that creates an opportunity to mislead you.” (Time