Pious lies are more selfish than you might think …

PSYCHOLOGY – Lies told to please or spare a loved one are more cowardly than altruism, according to a Korean study.

Is the “little” lie said while thinking of pleasing the other really a lie? It depends, are we tempted to answer. The liar, the lie and the real benefit for the cheated person. The results of Korean work published in the journal Journal of Neurosciences provide an answer on the mechanisms at work in our brain when we produce this type of lies, says “ by Pareto ” or “white lies” in English. And they would not be so altruistic that one wants to tell it to oneself to relieve one’s conscience …

There are many nuances in the lie. While some are undoubtedly formulated with the aim of preserving one’s own interests, it also happens that one lies for the sole benefit of another person, often a loved one, and the lie is then considered altruistic. In between are what scientists call the Pareto lies, sometimes referred to in French as “ pious lies “.

“White lies” “are usually inconsequential and sometimes amount to a form of politeness. In this sense, they can indeed help strengthen social ties. “

Xavier Seron, neuropsychologist and author of “Mensonges!” (Ed. Odile Jacob).

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