Scientists have uncovered an explanation for why telling a few porkies has the tendency to spiral out of control. The study suggests that telling small, insignificant lies desensitises the brain to dishonesty, meaning that lying gradually feels more comfortable over time.This is fascinating, especially in light of other research that suggests Gammas may have smaller, less developed amygdalas than higher-status men. On the other hand, it also suggests that my advice to ruthlessly tell the truth may be a reliable way out of Gammatude, as it stands to reason that refusing to tell lies will also alter the brain's response, but in a more positive manner.
Tali Sharot, a neuroscientist at University College London and senior author, said: “Whether it’s evading tax, infidelity, doping in sports, making up data in science or financial fraud, deceivers often recall how small acts of dishonesty snowballed over time and they suddenly found themselves committing quite large crimes.”
Sharot and colleagues suspected that this phenomenon was due to changes in the brain’s response to lying, rather than simply being a case of one lie necessitating another to maintain a story....
Twenty-five of the volunteers played the game while having their brain activity monitored by an MRI scanner. This showed that the amygdala, a part of the brain linked with emotion, was most active when people told their first lie. But while the untruths escalated in magnitude, the amygdala’s response gradually declined - and larger drops in brain activity predicted bigger lies in future.
The researchers said this adaptation effect was similar to those seen in basic sensory experiences. A scent becomes less potent when smelt repeatedly, for instance.
The more a Gamma tells the truth, the easier it will become for him, and the more reluctant he will become to construct a delusion bubble to defend his pride from contact with reality.