The Truth Comes Naturally! Does It?


Does the truth come naturally? And by implication, does this mean that a lie may not come as naturally as the truth? Truth-Default Theory and the Information Manipulation Theory 2 diverge in their opinion on whether people’s natural response is to lie or tell the truth. In line with Truth-Default Theory, cognitive psychology research supports the notion that the truth is the default in human communication. Information Manipulation Theory 2 holds that lying may come as naturally as, or even more naturally than, truth telling, and recent social psychology research supports this possibility. We suggest that motivation may explain the divergence between the two theories and the two lines of research. We raise the hypothesis that truth telling may be the natural response absent clear motivations to lie (hence, most human communication) and that lying may prevail as the automatic reaction when it brings about important self-profit. We hope that this hypothesis will stimulate new research that will allow for bridging the theoretical and empirical findings that seem discrepant at first and show when the truth (vs. the lie) comes naturally. © 2014 SAGE Publications.

Journal of Language and Social Psychology