International Journal of Psychology and Psychological Therapy

Volume 16 Num. 1 - March 2016


A Developmental-Behavioral Analysis of Lying

Volume 16 Num. 1 - March 2016 - Pages 13-22


Mitch J. Fryling


Lying is a common behavior in society and causes a number of problems in social relationships, the workplace, political affairs, and more. Most often, individuals who lie are considered to be liars and are therefore held responsible for their behavior. Unfortunately, the practice of assuming that the individual is responsible for engaging in lying behavior prevents an understanding of the context that supports the development and persistence of lying. As an alternative, the current paper considers contextual-behavioral factors that contribute to the development and maintenance of lying during both childhood and adulthood. In doing so, the unique features of lying as a target behavior are described, and specific targets for prevention and intervention are identified. The detection of lies is given specific attention, highlighting both conceptual and applied issues.

Key words:

behavior analysis, honesty, lying, truth telling

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