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Каталог статей из сборников научных конференций и научных журналов- Analysis of the concept of lying in F. P. Ackman’s book “Lie psychology”

Analysis of the concept of lying in F. P. Ackman’s book “Lie psychology”

Y. A. Petrova, Candidate of Philosophical Sciences,

assistant professor,

A. O. Churakova,

D. I. Antonchenko,


Rostov State University of Economics

Rostov-on-Don, Russia


In the modern world, the lie is so natural that it has got into all spheres of human activity long ago. There is no difference in which community (in language, cultural, religious, or ethnic differences) does a person belong. Cultural and language peculiarities reflect our personalities and temperaments, roles and relations, social and ethnic identities. People lie as a result of human activities in the under-natural reality, connected with the needs of human being in the process of adapting to social and natural environment [2]. The problem of a lie was the object of interest at the time of antique philosophers and researchers in different fields but still remains relevant today.

The concept of lying is an object of research in many humanities, but so far it promotes detection of its specifics in different areas of practical and theoretical activities. In particular, distinctive signs of category of lying aren't defined in psychology: if we limit the characteristic of lying only as judgment scoring in which the facts are presented incorrectly then these signs become indiscernible.

One of the main and unresolved problems remains the fact that not any deception can be exposed and not any lie can be distinguished. Studying the research of this topic we may point different ways of lying which concern several main questions: how to define a lie and how to lie skillfully. Despite interest in this field and studying researches of different authors, there is no unambiguous formula of finding out a lie or the law of ideal deception. The majority of the researches presented in literature are directed to studying of diagnostics of lying. The analysis of domestic psychological publications shows that, despite obvious relevance of the discussed subject, there are almost no researches devoted to studying of regularities of generation and understanding of lying in systems of communication. In modern life, each person can be subjected to a lie and deception, and the most important he is exposed to it daily. Whether, it is a lie as hiding of the truth for concealment of "dark" affairs of other people, or as concealment of the facts, but for the good. All this surrounds us, and it would seem people have to seek to warn themselves against it, or at least to reduce the number of deception. 

In our article we are going to analyze one of the works of the American psychologist, professor of psychology at the University of California in San Francisco, Paul Ackman and his book "Lie psychology" in which all practices on this problem are quite fully described. This book – is the result of long-term researches of one of large experts in the world in this field.

In his book "Lie Psychology", P. Ackman defines a lie as action which one person misleads another, doing it is deliberate, without prior notice of the purposes and without the request which is distinctly expressed from the victim not to open the truth [1].

The lie is the statement based on sincere delusion speaking or on his incomplete knowledge of what he speaks about. The lie, as well as deception, is based on incompleteness of information, but, unlike deception, speaking doesn't conceal the known information and doesn't pursue other aims, except transfer of the message containing incomplete (or distorted) information [4].

We may point the following types of lie in the theory:

·                Mystification. Invention or imagination of both one person (author), and group of people. Here it is possible to carry descriptions of mythical beings, fairy tales, fantastic stories.

·                Falsification. Various fakes, plagiarism.

·                Simulation or pretense, image, but not experience of feelings and emotions.

·                Game. Here such types of a game as actor's and children's, in them from the person impersonation is required belong.

·                Substitution of concepts, deception.

·                Bluff and swindles. In this case the juggling of the facts, with the purpose to deceive opponents, to reach own benefit takes place.

·                Involuntary lie. Sometimes there is a perception error, there is an acceptance for the truth of outdated information.

·                Exaggeration or underestimation, different distortion of information.

·                Leaving of the answer, concealment of the truth, default.

·                Flattery and hypocrisy. Such lie can be a part of etiquette.

·                White lie, for the good. It is a necessary lie, concerning a situation it is preferable information.

·                Slander, slanders, gossips.

·                Ambiguity, conscious complication of the interlocutor, presentation of contradictory information.

·                Pathological lie. It is a problem both for the liar, and for his environment.

·                Self-deception. The person convinces himself of the validity of obviously false information.

P. Ackman allocates two forms of lying – distortion and default. The Russian researcher and the psychologist I. Vagin in the book "Survival Psychology in Modern Russia" claims the same [3]. People hide the true information, but also doesn't report false at default.  Distortion differs in the fact that the liar takes additional actions, hiding the truth and substituting it not for right information, giving for truthful [3, p. 96].

The important place in Ackman's book is devoted to researching technology of recognition of lying. This equipment, in his opinion, "will allow the person suspecting deception to estimate as far as his suspicions are thorough or groundless". In addition to the description of the last results the author gives the extensive list of questions in the appendix, on which has to receive for him the answer of people which is engaged in identification of lying.

Ekman defines a lie as having two essential characteristics: there must be a deliberate choice and intent to mislead, and there must be no notification that this is what is occurring. "An actor or a poker player isn't a liar," he says. "They're supposed to be deceiving you, as a part of the game [1].

Microexpressions, he says, are the only part of a whole set of possible deception indicators. "There is also what we call "subtle expressions" - not brief, but very small, almost imperceptible. A very slight tightening of the lips, for example, is the most reliable sign of anger. You need to study a person's whole demeanor: gesture, voice, posture, gaze, and also, of course, the words themselves" [5].

Our research in this field can be useful to the psychologist, representatives of law enforcement agencies, managing directors dealing with people, and also to any person in everyday life. In various situations: from business negotiations and prior to a household talk, the accounting of observed signs of lying will allow seeing a real picture of the situation.


  1. Ekman P., Friesen W. V. Unmasking the face. – Ney Jersey, 1975.
  2. Petrova J. A. Cultural and language problems faced by migrants as the members of a certain ethnic community : Materials of the International scientific and practical conference "Regional problems of modern migration". – Rostov-on-Don, March 28, 2016. – P. 72–75.
  3. Вагин И. Психология выживания в современной России. – М. : АСТ, 2004. – 352 с.
  4. Экман П. Психология лжи. Обмани меня, если сможешь. – СПб. : Питер, 2016. – 157 с.
  5. https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2009/may/12/psychology-lying-microexpressions-paul-ekman.
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