Rich and Co.

55+ Adults: Bad at Lying and Detecting Lies

with one comment

This impairment in the brains of adults 55+, especially men, is a challenge for financial and professional services of all types.

Take Aways —

  • Older people cannot lie as convincingly as younger people, are worse at detecting when others are lying, and the latter is linked to age-related decline in emotion recognition
  • “In our study, we also found that older participants in the lie detection test were not as good as their younger counterparts at differentiating between lies and truths.”
  • both young and older listeners found it easier to differentiate truths and lies when the speaker was an older adult compared to a young adult.

“It could be that older people are less convincing liars because the kinds of cognitive abilities required for successful deceit are also those that tend to deteriorate with age.” The declined lying skills could be due to deteriorated cognitive abilities that are required for deceit.


  • places demands on memory and planning ability (e.g., formulating a plausible argument,
  • keeping story facts straight)
  • on social understanding (e.g., judging whether a particular argument will convince a listener,
  • keeping track of a listener’s response as the lie unfolds to potentially alter the argument).

Further analysis showed that older people’s scores in the emotion recognition test strongly predicted how well they would do in the lie detection task.

“As with our recent findings on:

  • Older people’s worse abilities in detecting social gaffes
  • Older men’s tendency to talk for too long and go off topic when talking,
  • Age-related decline in emotion perception

Excerpted from full article at:


Written by Rich and Co.

June 7, 2011 at 8:07 pm

Posted in Aging, Behavioral

One Response

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  1. So the bad news is – liars are young. The good news is – once more of us are old, the population will be more honest!


    June 9, 2011 at 10:16 pm

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