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Do you assume people are honest or dishonest?
« on: April 02, 2021, 01:50:53 pm »
An exchange between me and 745Sticky (I hope I'm not out of line in mentioning you) brought up a question that has been a recurring point of debate, including between Mr. C and I (again, same). And that question is are people fundamentally honest or dishonest?

To make this easier, lets narrow our focus to non-casual situations. Basically, professional situations or situations "on the street" or such. This is where the point of debate took place- I feel that the default assumption in both medical settings and criminal investigations is to be deeply suspicious of answers people give to the point of not believing they are the truth without some kind of verification or prodding. On the other hand, people say that they are comfortable assuming people are telling the truth to doctors, and that also, this skepticism may be preventing people getting help. I don't have as good an explanation as to the rationale that people are generally honest when talking to the police, but I assume it is in part a rejection of the notion that people would default to lying and that most people will generally try and tell the truth and be helpful, and that there are deterrents to lying.

What do you think? Also, I'm interested to see if there's a political orientation correlation here, as I joked that this might be why I'm "embittered and conservative" and why 745Sticky is "happy and liberal." But the emphasis here is more on your view of human nature than political orientation. The goal here is general discussion of a phenomenon, not a political flamewar (at least for the first part of this anyways, before it does degenerate into that)

Are people fundamentally honest or dishonest? Or is there something else? Is it dependent on setting and situation? Is age a factor? Share your views here!
« Last Edit: April 02, 2021, 01:54:09 pm by Mr.DeMartino »


Re: Do you assume people are honest or dishonest?
« Reply #1 on: April 02, 2021, 01:57:55 pm »
This poll is culturally biased. Some places (Korea) it is more considerate to lie and save face than to be honest. So as whole in the USA non-casual, I'd say mostly honest, unless I'm in a used car lot. As a whole in Korea, mostly dishonest.


Re: Do you assume people are honest or dishonest?
« Reply #2 on: April 02, 2021, 02:00:05 pm »
This poll is culturally biased. Some places (Korea) it is more considerate to lie and save face than to be honest. So as whole in the USA non-casual, I'd say mostly honest, unless I'm in a used car lot. As a whole in Korea, mostly dishonest.
I don't really see much that suggests there's a big difference. People just lie differently, but there's still constant BS and lies. You really think Americans default to honest when dealing with the police or with doctors? And you really think Koreans will tell nice lies to save face or not hurt someone's feelings, but Americans won't?

Answers like this are part of why I have trouble accepting people as fundamentally honest because well, and I don't want to be insulting, but this kind of answer is almost...I don't want to be mean and say DISHONEST, but it shows an inability to honestly reckon with one's own self and what they identify with. But really? Unless you're in a used car-lot?
« Last Edit: April 02, 2021, 02:44:12 pm by Mr.DeMartino »


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Re: Do you assume people are honest or dishonest?
« Reply #3 on: April 02, 2021, 02:20:58 pm »
what is lying?
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Re: Do you assume people are honest or dishonest?
« Reply #4 on: April 02, 2021, 02:23:39 pm »
what is lying?
When a man lies with another man.
The first thing to say is that this is definitely not pyramid selling, OK?


Re: Do you assume people are honest or dishonest?
« Reply #5 on: April 02, 2021, 02:39:54 pm »
When a man lies with another man.
That moment when you see your attempted philosophical thread descend into a pun thread...

I'm talking about "deceit" (Lets see them try and make a pun out of that!)


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Re: Do you assume people are honest or dishonest?
« Reply #6 on: April 02, 2021, 02:54:04 pm »
i dont believe that anyone actually acts as if people are fundamentally deceitful. certain people? sure. in certain situations? sure. maybe with some (low) level of general suspicion? sure, but...

always acting as if people are probably deceiving you seems (at best) extremely tiring

i guess my question is this: what does 'i assume people are dishonest in non-casual settings' mean? if it means "people sometimes lie" then... conversation over? if it means "people lie most of the time" then 1) i'm genuinely shocked and 2) we can have a conversation about that
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Re: Do you assume people are honest or dishonest?
« Reply #7 on: April 02, 2021, 02:56:43 pm »
That moment when you see your attempted philosophical thread descend into a pun thread...

I'm talking about "deceit" (Lets see them try and make a pun out of that!)

One time I lied to my Mammy, and she done wore out deceit o' my pants.


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Re: Do you assume people are honest or dishonest?
« Reply #8 on: April 02, 2021, 03:34:12 pm »
An exchange between me and 745Sticky (I hope I'm not out of line in mentioning you) brought up a question that has been a recurring point of debate, including between Mr. C and I (again, same). And that question is are people fundamentally honest or dishonest?
Interesting question. For clarification's sake, my answer rests on the premise that the traits of "honesty" and "dishonesty" rest almost entirely on motive; for example, somebody could unintentionally lie out of ignorance and still be considered an honest person, while somebody could tell a truth with bad motive and be considered a dishonest person.

The simple answer is that I don't think that people are fundamentally honest or dishonest. The only thing that I would say people "fundamentally" are is the personality traits they trend to. I go by the 5-factor model (conscientiousness, agreeableness, extroversion, openness to experience, neuroticism). Combinations of these factors may have an effect on somebody's susceptibility to lie, but the lie is still a choice. I'm not super well-read on psychology but if you look at other personality models I think you'll find it's somewhat similar.


To make this easier, lets narrow our focus to non-casual situations. Basically, professional situations or situations "on the street" or such. This is where the point of debate took place- I feel that the default assumption in both medical settings and criminal investigations is to be deeply suspicious of answers people give to the point of not believing they are the truth without some kind of verification or prodding.
That is the default assumption in criminal investigations, but not in a medical setting.

The default assumption in a medical setting is to take what people say at face value unless it is contradicted by solid evidence, and even then, I still wouldn't necessarily call the person dishonest. The vast majority of people do not have advanced medical knowledge. If they come into the office and say something like "oh, I think I've got a cold" and the doctor examines their symptoms and finds it to be something else, that isn't because the patient is being dishonest. The doctor examining them and finding it to be something else also isn't due to the doctor's "suspicion." The patient is doing their part by describing their symptoms and what they feel like it could be. The doctor is applying his medical knowledge (and blood tests and whatever else) to the patient's generalities in order to pinpoint the exact issue that the patient doesn't have the capability to express.

Anyways, before I get too much into semantics, basically what I'm saying that the relationship between the doctor and the patient is cooperative, rather than interrogative, and the doctor typically seeks clarification as opposed to trying to catch the patient in a lie.

The role of the police is the complete opposite of that - the aim of interviewing suspects is to catch them tripping up, an aim that's still in the back of most policeman's minds even when speaking to witnesses (a bit of an aside, but if you're interested in how the US police will always try to catch you in a lie, here's an excellent lecture: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d-7o9xYp7eE) The police are fundamentally interrogative because they work against the suspect, while a doctor is fundamentally cooperative because he is working for the patient. The doctor takes his patient at face value and excuses mistakes as ignorance because there are very few situations in which the patient has anything to gain from being dishonest. The policeman doesn't have that luxury, since any given suspect could have plenty of motive to purposefully lie.


On the other hand, people say that they are comfortable assuming people are telling the truth to doctors,

Well, no. I'd say that I'm comfortably assuming they aren't lying to their doctors (I promise this is going somewhere lol). The "default" position is neutrality; if somebody tells me "I talked to my doctor about this and this" to accept it is essentially neutral, since there isn't an implied question of "are you lying or not" (from their perspective, at least) since we generally assume that (as its in our best interests) we are as honest with our doctors (even if this isn't actually true, its still the general assumption, which is what matters in this context). To assume that they are lying is an accusation against them, since it goes against the previously-mentioned general assumption. Even if they gave me actual cause to believe they were lying (say, I knew them personally and knew they said something inaccurate) that still isn't how I'd go about it because it isn't particularly effective, which leads us to the second part of your sentence.


On the other hand, people say that they are comfortable assuming people are telling the truth to doctors, and that also, this skepticism may be preventing people getting help.
While it isn't a hard and fast rule, I do think that especially considering the problems that tend to exacerbate weight gain (depression, low self-esteem, etc). the typical reaction to "you're just lying to your doctor about your exercise/eating habits" will be to reinforce their negative opinion of themselves and prompt "yeah I should just give up" more than "**** you, I'll be honest and prove you wrong". I'd also like to re-iterate that intention also matters a lot here. It's very easy to tell an unintentional lie about stuff like exercise/eating habits, especially when one isn't well-versed in the professional aspects of exercise and diet. If somebody forgets to mention instances of light snacking or overestimates their exercise routine or whatever I wouldn't call them a liar or say that they told a lie, I'd say that they made a mistake - going back to what I said earlier, the interrogerative vs. the cooperative.

Let's take the example you're likely thinking of, though - somebody who is intentionally lying out of shame, who downplays or outright denies their eating habits while playing up their exercise routine. Even in this instance, I'd still argue that calling them out on lying isn't conducive. A liar called out on a lie doubles down on the lie. Interrogation technique actually provides us a great example, 99% of interrogation is pretending to be on the suspect's side and getting them to admit their guilt little by little (usually through giving them softer outs and allowing them to confess to lesser crimes before putting the pressure back on again. The Chris Watts interrogation footage is an excellent example of this, if you can stomach watching it, it starts with you weren't guilty, thanks for talking to us --> we know you had something to do with her disappearence --> did she hurt the kids first? Is that why you did it? etc).

Of course, a reasonable question to ask would be "well, they're out here lying and being difficult, etc. why is it worth my time to play all these mental games just to get them to admit they ate a family-sized bag of Doritos?" and that's a fair point, since you aren't their doctor that isn't your problem. But in that case you can't really say you're trying to help them, either, at which point I'd just advise moving on and not getting in an argument with them over it either.


 
I don't have as good an explanation as to the rationale that people are generally honest when talking to the police, but I assume it is in part a rejection of the notion that people would default to lying and that most people will generally try and tell the truth and be helpful, and that there are deterrents to lying.
People who have not commited a crime are generally honest when talking to the police. It's a lot more selfish than "trying to be helpful", though- most innocent people's gut instinct is that the truth is their best defense (the lecture I linked above goes into this a bit too). Of course, the police have to figure out who'se being honest, and thus remain suspicious of everybody until the culprit is found.


What do you think? Also, I'm interested to see if there's a political orientation correlation here, as I joked that this might be why I'm "embittered and conservative" and why 745Sticky is "happy and liberal." But the emphasis here is more on your view of human nature than political orientation. The goal here is general discussion of a phenomenon, not a political flamewar (at least for the first part of this anyways, before it does degenerate into that)
I'd say that my original view wasn't really one of human nature at all, and I even acknowledged that some people are lying to their doctor. My stance was just that I preferred to give people the benefit of the doubt, which leads me into the last thing I want to get at here: while the examples of the policeman are the doctor make for interesting discussion, I'm not a policeman or a doctor. GIving people the benefit of the doubt is something I'm free to do, because it is not my job to diagnose somebody or declare them innocent or guilty of a crime.

As for the political orientation bit; I think it has a lot more to do with personality type (which, incidentally, is sort of shown to inform political orientation). So I'd say that personality probably informs this and your political orientation rather than political orientation being the relevant correlation.


Are people fundamentally honest or dishonest? Or is there something else? Is it dependent on setting and situation? Is age a factor? Share your views here!
It's mostly dependent on setting and situation. While there are personality traits that can cause people to trend towards honesty or dishonest, honesty and dishonesty are not personality traits in and of themselves. That said, my stance (to give the benefit of the doubt) isn't a statement on people's honesty, it's avoiding making a statement on their dishonesty- innocent until proven guilty, I suppose.


Re: Do you assume people are honest or dishonest?
« Reply #9 on: April 02, 2021, 05:07:31 pm »
One time I lied to my Mammy, and she done wore out deceit o' my pants.
I'm starting to think MayorHaggar has a point about the mods being asleep at the wheel.

Flagged!

(Actually that wasn't TOO bad.)

Alright, lets see how you all do with "perfidiousness"  Mwahahahaha!
« Last Edit: April 02, 2021, 05:09:46 pm by Mr.DeMartino »


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Re: Do you assume people are honest or dishonest?
« Reply #10 on: April 02, 2021, 09:44:53 pm »
Honesty is the default option.

Lying is enabled when there is a reason to do so and an assessed low risk of getting caught.


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Re: Do you assume people are honest or dishonest?
« Reply #11 on: April 02, 2021, 10:34:14 pm »
Matt Gaetz has never told a lie.  'Nuff said.


Re: Do you assume people are honest or dishonest?
« Reply #12 on: April 05, 2021, 01:34:18 pm »
Interesting question. For clarification's sake, my answer rests on the premise that the traits of "honesty" and "dishonesty" rest almost entirely on motive; for example, somebody could unintentionally lie out of ignorance and still be considered an honest person, while somebody could tell a truth with bad motive and be considered a dishonest person.
I see what you're saying in a lot what you posted. It seems you're making more of a policy argument and what should be assumed as a matter of policy (e.g. not all people are innocent, but as a matter of policy we should have the presumption of innocence even when we "know" they're guilty).

Quote
That is the default assumption in criminal investigations, but not in a medical setting.

The default assumption in a medical setting is to take what people say at face value unless it is contradicted by solid evidence, and even then, I still wouldn't necessarily call the person dishonest. The vast majority of people do not have advanced medical knowledge. If they come into the office and say something like "oh, I think I've got a cold" and the doctor examines their symptoms and finds it to be something else, that isn't because the patient is being dishonest. The doctor examining them and finding it to be something else also isn't due to the doctor's "suspicion." The patient is doing their part by describing their symptoms and what they feel like it could be. The doctor is applying his medical knowledge (and blood tests and whatever else) to the patient's generalities in order to pinpoint the exact issue that the patient doesn't have the capability to express.
I would say this makes sense only in certain types of illness/injury- ones that don't involve societal judgment or embarrassing behavior (or prescription meds that have addictive properties). However as soon as they do, I think the probability of people being honest falls off a cliff. At some point you have to bow to math and acknowledge that the stream of people and their improbable claims are in fact, lies. Don't rule out the improbable, but don't default to it either.

As far as policing, this goes back to the discussion I had with Mr. C, it was concerning the Trump-Russia investigation and the various perjuries involved. My point was that them lying about certain things did not ipso facto prove a conspiracy and that lying to investigators is a normal occurrence. Something I still maintain.

Quote
While it isn't a hard and fast rule, I do think that especially considering the problems that tend to exacerbate weight gain (depression, low self-esteem, etc). the typical reaction to "you're just lying to your doctor about your exercise/eating habits" will be to reinforce their negative opinion of themselves and prompt "yeah I should just give up" more than "**** you, I'll be honest and prove you wrong". I'd also like to re-iterate that intention also matters a lot here. It's very easy to tell an unintentional lie about stuff like exercise/eating habits, especially when one isn't well-versed in the professional aspects of exercise and diet. If somebody forgets to mention instances of light snacking or overestimates their exercise routine or whatever I wouldn't call them a liar or say that they told a lie, I'd say that they made a mistake - going back to what I said earlier, the interrogerative vs. the cooperative.
I think there has to be a fine line between adding on to negative feeling on the one hand and the fact that reality IS needed on the other. Ultimately, if the person is to recover, they need to be honest with themselves and face reality. If they can't then they will never solve it (or get a bunch of money for lipo I guess). That breakthrough (breakdown?) has to take place at some point. If it doesn't, well then there's no hope.

It's pretty much game theory- indulging or accepting the lie WILL NOT improve their condition. Confronting might make it worse, but it's the only chance of making it better.

Quote
People who have not commited a crime are generally honest when talking to the police. It's a lot more selfish than "trying to be helpful", though- most innocent people's gut instinct is that the truth is their best defense (the lecture I linked above goes into this a bit too). Of course, the police have to figure out who'se being honest, and thus remain suspicious of everybody until the culprit is found.
I think that can vary significantly based on crime, neighborhood, and demographics. In a community where disdain for the cops or criminal enterprise dominates, people are far less likely to be honest. Also, the more time elapses, the more likely the person is going to inject themselves into the story and embellish things.

Quote
As for the political orientation bit; I think it has a lot more to do with personality type (which, incidentally, is sort of shown to inform political orientation). So I'd say that personality probably informs this and your political orientation rather than political orientation being the relevant correlation.
That is certainly a possibility maybe even a probability. Good point.

« Last Edit: April 05, 2021, 01:51:51 pm by Mr.DeMartino »


Re: Do you assume people are honest or dishonest?
« Reply #13 on: April 05, 2021, 01:59:01 pm »
Honesty is the default option.

Lying is enabled when there is a reason to do so and an assessed low risk of getting caught.
I disagree that is the default option for people. If you look at the ways people constantly lie, you will see things.

Makeup, fashion, talking to your boss, talking to your coworkers, your kids, your wide, your neighbors, social media profiles. dating, etc. Constant lies. In fact, it is likely quite necessary for humans to function as a social unit. If we were truly honest all the time, I think our society would rapidly descend into violence and chaos.


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Re: Do you assume people are honest or dishonest?
« Reply #14 on: April 05, 2021, 02:16:21 pm »
no one is saying that people are honest all the time. but how is honesty not the default option? the fact that people do lie a lot doesn't make it the default. when someone asks you for the time, you check your watch and tell them the time. you don't just make up some numbers (even if it's more convenient). almost nobody lies if you ask them what time it is.

and even when there is a motive, it has to be sufficient. maybe a coworker comes in with an absolutely terrible haircut, but you know they'll feel bad if you say it. it takes some effort to tell them it looks great
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Re: Do you assume people are honest or dishonest?
« Reply #15 on: April 05, 2021, 02:19:58 pm »
no one is saying that people are honest all the time. but how is honesty not the default option? the fact that people do lie a lot doesn't make it the default. when someone asks you for the time, you check your watch and tell them the time. you don't just make up some numbers (even if it's more convenient). almost nobody lies if you ask them what time it is.

and even when there is a motive, it has to be sufficient. maybe a coworker comes in with an absolutely terrible haircut, but you know they'll feel bad if you say it. it takes some effort to tell them it looks great
Trust me on this, you are so wasting your time.


Re: Do you assume people are honest or dishonest?
« Reply #16 on: April 05, 2021, 02:40:58 pm »
no one is saying that people are honest all the time. but how is honesty not the default option? the fact that people do lie a lot doesn't make it the default. when someone asks you for the time, you check your watch and tell them the time. you don't just make up some numbers (even if it's more convenient). almost nobody lies if you ask them what time it is.
The question is- Are those kind of objective, non-confrontational, no societal pressure questions and situations the norm or the exception in our society? How many interactions involve something that neither party has any ego involved in, there is a clear objective data point, and there isn't some kind of subtle or implicit confrontation or power dynamic involved in?

Heck, even then while you might get an answer, underneath the person might be thinking "Why the f*ck are you asking me? Get your own f*ing watch. Also, your tie looks ugly"

Quote
and even when there is a motive, it has to be sufficient. maybe a coworker comes in with an absolutely terrible haircut, but you know they'll feel bad if you say it. it takes some effort to tell them it looks great
Actually, I would submit that it takes more effort to tell them the honest truth. If you are honest, you could risk becoming a social pariah at your workplace and possible disciplinary measures. Lie and nothing will happen. There is every incentive for you to lie and it is the path of least resistance. Telling the truth is the hard part.

"Hi Diane, hey your new haircut sucks!" If this really were the default and easy path, it would be said a lot more often.

Lying is enabled when there is a reason to do so and an assessed low risk of getting caught.
Which is constant in our society. They are a multitude of reasons to lie for social cohesion and to prevent onesself from being socially exiled or facing repeated violent confrontation. There is also a low risk of being caught in this because we are conditioned to accept it and not confront.

Heck, people will often lie when there is no reason to do so (at least overtly). And even when there isn't an overt reason, they will convince themselves they should lie in their head (usually for attention or to impress people or some other reason likely linked to its ultimate goal being wanting to get laid.) And there often is a high risk of being caught. In fact, many times the lie is blatantly obvious and even though they're "caught" no one bothers to confront them because of whatever reason ranging from "I zoned out 5 minutes ago and I'm on my phone" to "Lets just finish this stupid meeting" to "I'd love to call out this mfer right now, but everyone will just bitch about me starting a fight and we're all here to drink" to "That's just Eric. That's what he does. He's a good guy once you get past his bullsh*t stories."

"UMass researcher finds most people lie in everyday conversation"
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2002-06/uoma-urf061002.php
Quote
The study, published in the journal's June issue, found that 60 percent of people lied at least once during a 10-minute conversation and told an average of two to three lies.

And those are just lies in conversation. That's before we get to shit like makeup and fake watches and other crap that people do to make themselves look like someone they aren't.


Re: Do you assume people are honest or dishonest?
« Reply #17 on: April 05, 2021, 02:41:48 pm »
Trust me on this, you are so wasting your time.
Any research to support your position that the default position is that people are honest and lying is the exception, not the norm?


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Re: Do you assume people are honest or dishonest?
« Reply #18 on: April 05, 2021, 03:00:52 pm »
My first career after uni was newspaper journalism and I loved it until 9/11.

At the best of times, one needed a SECOND source to publish any comment that portrayed any individual in a negative light (this was last century, before rampant law-unimpinged character assassination online).

I have had to shelve numerous juicy news reports because I could only get one guy on the record (a half dozen sqwuaking details anonymously only). Agggh.

For example, (and I can say so because the towns and cities i worked in and when isn't openly known:

1. A liquor store had a major fire. All product was written off. The local junkyard was paid by the town to dispose of the alcohol inventory by buring it. They did so (gently). They dug it up the next night. Less than six months later the junkyard owner's daughter got married and a free bar poured booze all night with winks all around, including from elected council members, infuriating me personally (had to smile as the editor of the local newspaper).

2. The mayor denied the town administrator's claim that he took funds without council approval to fund a riverboat casino to come through town, the funds misaccrued put in the mayor's name (not town's name as partner) and I had only the one bureaucrat on record. I couldn't risk libel. Fortunately ONE council member corroborated the facts and I ran four front page stories on it, CBC radio picking it up provincewide, the mayor NEVER speaking to me again (i had to send a reporter), he lost the following election two years later and the casino riverboat project died, the town lost the money.

People lie when they have a reason to and can get away with it.

That aside, I still think the muscle-response reaction is to tell the truth.
« Last Edit: April 06, 2021, 09:25:49 pm by VanIslander »


Re: Do you assume people are honest or dishonest?
« Reply #19 on: April 05, 2021, 03:57:11 pm »
1. A liquor store had a major fire. All product was written off. The local junkyard was paid by the town to dispose of the alcohol inventory by buring it. They did so (gently). They dug it up the next night. Less than six month's later the junkyard owner's daughter got married and a free bar poured booze all night with winks all around, including from elected council members, infuriating me personally (had to smile as the editor of the local newspaper).
This story pretty much sums up the idiocy involved in bureaucracy and government and why there is rampant lying- the law is moronic and inflexible.

If we as a society didn't lie, perhaps even before the violence took place, the system itself would collapse under the weight of its own mandated regulations and paperwork.