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How to Spot Professional Liars

Constantly lying can take a toll on our brain health, and even make us more susceptible to pathological lying. A study in Nature Neuroscience in 2016 found habitual lying can desensitize our brains from “feeling bad”. It may even encourage us to tell bigger lies in the future.

The researchers found that when we lie for personal gain, our Amygdala produces a negative feeling that limits the extent to which we are prepared to lie.

However, as we continue to lie, this response fades. In turn, this leada to a “slippery slope” where small acts of dishonesty can evolve into more significant lies. In other words, lies breed lies as you desensitize your brain to dishonesty.

This behavior could breed a pathological liar, which is someone who lies out of habit without any reason. This sound very similar to the prophetic hadith which Abdullah has narrated that Prophet Muhammad has said; “Truth leads one to Paradise and virtue leads one to Paradise and the person tells the truth until he is recorded as truthful, and lie leads to obscenity and obscenity leads to Hell, and the person tells a lie until he is recorded as a liar.” Sahih Muslim – Book 32 Hadith 6307.

Lying in Shari’ah

Islam forbids lying and considers it a major sin. There are some exceptions cited by scholars in which the rule might be relaxed a bit, one of which is concealment or omission of one’s religion, due to fear of persecution should one reveal their belief in Islam, known as ‘taqiya’.

Another prophetic hadith narrated by Sufyan ibn Asid al-Hadrami says: I heard the Apostle of Allah (peace be upon him) say: “It is great treachery that you should tell your brother something and have him believe you when you are lying.” Sunan of Abu-Dawood – Book 41 Hadith 4953.

Allah’s Apostle has also said, “The signs of a hypocrite are three: Whenever he speaks, he tells a lie; and whenever he promises, he breaks his promise; and whenever he is entrusted, he betrays (proves to be dishonest).” Sahih Al-Bukhari – Book 73 Hadith 117.

In another hadith, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said, “Whoever does not give up forged speech and evil actions, Allah is not in need of his leaving his food and drink (i.e. Allah will not accept his fasting.)” Sahih Al-Bukhari – Book 31 Hadith 127.

Professional Liars?

This video gets into the details behind the lying ways. How did this behavior start, and how professional liars are different from the rest of us. And most importantly, how scientists are getting better at spotting lies in many situations.


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