Inspired living

The psychology of white lies and other interesting slices of life

white lies

Ben White, Unsplash

Sweet little lies

We all tell lies occasionally, but researchers wanted to find out exactly how we do it. The study found firstly that most people don’t lie on a daily basis, but the most common types of lies are “white lies”, exaggerations, hiding information, burying lies in truth and making things up. Expert liars tend to weave their lives with strands of truth while poor liars resort to being vague. Prolific liars also rely on being good with words and concealing their lies within simple, clear stories that are difficult to doubt. Interestingly, men were more than twice as likely to consider themselves expert liars who get away with their deceptions. People also tend to lie most to family and friends and prefer face-to-face lies rather than lying over text message. In a nutshell, that’s the truth about lying … really.

Source: PLOS ONE

Musical alarms

What sort of alarm do you wake to? If you have chosen the blaring “beep beep beep” type you might be doing yourself a disservice, according to new research. For the study, researchers had people in their own home rate their alertness and grogginess on waking using a standardised sleep inertia scale. This information was then correlated with types of alarms used. The study showed that harsh alarm tones led to more grogginess than melodic, music-based alarm tones. It might be that the harsh “beep beep” confuses the brain on waking. So if you want to be at your best quickly, then music might be your best option. The specific songs suggested by the researchers were the Beach Boys’ “Good Vibrations” or The Cure’s “Close to Me”. Mind you, if you’re waking up with good vibrations close to you, why wouldn’t you be alert?

Source: PLOS ONE

The loving smell of sleep

Your partner does lots of things for you, even down to the fact that their smell helps you sleep. This was shown in a new study where partners of participants were given a T-shirt to wear for 24 hours, and asked to refrain from wearing deodorant or cologne. Participants were then given that T-shirt plus another T-shirt and asked to use them as pillow cases on consecutive nights. Participants did not know which T-shirt their partner had worn. Using self-assessment and “sleep watches” to monitor night-time movements, sleep quality was assessed. Additionally, participants guessed whether they had slept on their partner’s shirt. The results showed that people had better sleep and were less restless when they slept on their partner’s shirt even if they didn’t think it was their partner’s shirt. The scent of your romantic partner promotes a sense of safety, calm and relaxation. Love is a many-scented thing.

Source: University of British Columbia

Praise vs Punishment

For this study, researchers spent three years observing 2,536 kids aged 5 to 12 in 151 classrooms across three states in the US. In half of the classrooms the researchers had teachers follow a behaviour intervention program that involved high levels of praise. In the rest of the classrooms they used their usual behavioural strategies. The results showed a link between the amount of praise given and the degree to which students focused on classroom activities. In classrooms where the praise-to-reprimand ratios were the highest, children spent between 20 and 30 per cent more time focusing on tasks and on the teacher than in classrooms where praise levels were the lowest. Praise is a powerful tool and inspires even struggling students to work harder. It’s true, you do catch more flies with honey than vinegar.

Source: Educational Psychology

Did you know?

“Parentese” — the language of language

“Parentese” is not “baby talk” (a jumble of sounds and nonsense words). Parentese is fully grammatical speech that involves real words, elongated vowels and exaggerated tones of voice. It sounds happy and engaged and encourages babies to tune into their parents and respond. Children of parents who use lots of parentese develop language up to twice as fast as those of parents who use parentese rarely.

Source: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences


Terry Robson

Terry Robson is the Editor-in-Chief of WellBeing and the Editor of EatWell.