Saturday, 27 August 2011

To lie, or not to lie

Over the past week I was mentally occupied by questions about different aspects of dishonesty. I first had a hypothesis that long-term dishonest behavior may cause memory decline, but since I couldn't find any data to support or to refute it, I left it at that.
While googling for the question above, I ran into another, rather interesting paper on neural activity associated with honest and dishonest decision making. The research was based on two hypotheses. According to one, honesty results from the active resistance of temptation, while the other one states that honesty results from the absence of temptation. The results of this research supported the second hypothesis, that honest people don't show any additional control-related activity when choosing to behave honestly. In contrast, individuals who behaved dishonestly exhibited increased activity in control-related regions of prefrontal cortex, both when choosing to behave dishonestly and on occasions when they refrained from dishonesty.
After discussing this last matter with a friend last night, we concluded that, even if one who engages in dishonest behavior habitually, once decides to behave honestly, his brain activity might not change radically, and in order to change that neural activity to an honest one, one needs to practice to be honest to change the synaptic behavior over time.
This was of my concern mainly because, I was born into a culture in which dishonesty, in the form of giving compliments is a value. and this makes, me, individually, a dishonest person by neural definitions. Now, I don't consider myself dishonest, but the fact that I actively resist the temptation of lying suggests that I am. So, is confessing that I'm a liar a starting point for changing my synaptic behavior?

No comments: