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Are bilinguals better at lying?

According to researchers, lying in a second language is much easier than the mother tongue.

A number of psychology experiments have shown that not only does language shape aspects of our visual perception, but it also affects the way we spot our environment. In addition, bilinguals can accept truth in one of their languages, while denying it in the other.


In one particular study, the findings suggest the average person tends to lie at least once to twice per day. Accordingly, familiarity among people is an internal culprit of deception. Specifically, those who speak multiple languages are better at lying in their second language because of the emotional differences and the smaller psychological costs of lying in a foreign language.

In terms of lying, the mother tongue is often associated with our emotions while the foreign language is closely tied to logical thinking. According to Daily Mail, “our mother tongue is closely tied to our emotions, which makes us more vulnerable and therefore honest when we’re speaking it”. By contrast, “foreign languages are also associated with more rational thinking, compared to our mother tongue. This can also help people to construct a falsehood ”. Dr. Manon Jones, of Bangor University, and Ceri Ellie, from the University of Manchester, also claimed that “Bilinguals actually interpret facts differently depending on the language they are presented with, and depending on whether the fact makes them feel good or bad about their native culture.”

However, our bilingual participants knew what was, in fact, true or false. Functioning in the second language protects them against unpalatable truths, and processes for such truths strategically.

Source: Science of people

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