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A Surprising Trait Predicts Who Tells Lies

What kind of person would lie to you?

If we’re talking about personality traits, the first thing that comes to mind is probably the “Dark Triad.” These 3 disturbing traits (Psychopathy, Narcissism, and Machiavellianism) often seem to go together.

None of that is at all surprising. We pretty much expect that kind of person to lie to us.

But it turns out there’s even more to the story.

The overclaiming technique

There is a certain type of lie that psychologists call “overclaiming.”

It’s when people claim to know something that they don’t actually know.

It might be a part of self-promotion or bragging.

It might be something on a résumé.

Or it might be a more passive thing. Saying “yes” (that you know or understand) when the truth is actually “no.” Or even just smiling and nodding, instead of asking for more information.

What kind of person does this?

Researchers recently conducted a series of studies to find out. And just to be sure, they followed up with a larger analysis of all the data they could get their hands on.

They found no relationship between overclaiming and the personality trait known as “Honesty-Humility.”

In other words, the type of person who tends to brag about themselves isn’t more likely to overclaim than the type of person who tends to be humble!!

The trait that actually does predict overclaiming: Openness to Experience.

People who are more curious, people who tend to explore different ideas and aesthetics.

These are the people who are most likely to say that they know things that they don’t actually know.

And the weirdest part is that they might actually think that they do know.

Overclaiming is significantly correlated with years of formal education, and with IQ.

The people who claim to know things that they don’t actually know, actually do tend to know more things than the people who don’t claim to know things that they don’t actually know.

Try saying that three times fast.