Friday May 06, 2016

Born to Lie

(Chaloner Woods/Getty Images)

No one wants to be called a liar. Or worse, to be caught lying. Yet lying is something we all do, often without even realizing it. IDEAS producer Nicola Luksic looks at our instinct to lie, why we do it, how we teach children to do the same -- and why it can sometimes be a good thing. **This episode originally aired January 13, 2015.

"We have a collective investment in dishonesty. A measure of dishonesty isn't optional. It's necessary."  
  -- David Livingstone Smith, philosophy professor, University of New England

"If you discover your two-year old is telling a lie, instead of being alarmed, you should celebrate! Your child has arrived at an important stage of his or her life."
 -- Kang Lee, Director of the Child Development Research Group, University of Toronto

"I recommend you hurt peoples' feelings and offend people. And then stick with them."
 -- Brad Blanton, psychotherapist and founder of Radical Honesty

Guests in the program: 

  • Laura Turley - former graphic designer, recent convert to the Radical Honesty philosophy, training to be a counsellor and writes a blog.
  • Brad Blanton - Founder of Radical Honesty, psychotherapist. Author of Radical Honesty: How to Transform your Life by Telling the Truth. Watch his TEDx Talk.  
  • Kang Lee  - Professor of psychology at the University of Toronto. Director of the Child Development Research Group at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. Watch his TEDx Talk.
  • Sarah Zanette - Developmental Psychology PhD student supervised by Kang Lee at the Child Development Research Group, University of Toronto.
  • David Livingstone Smith - Professor of Philosophy, University of New England. Director of The Human Nature Project; and author of Why We Lie: The Evolutionary Roots of Deception and the Unconscious Mind, and Less than Human.

An experiment that tests a child's ability to lie convincingly

Babies: Born To Be Good? (excerpt)2:13

Excerpt from Babies: Born to Be Good? broadcast on The Nature of Things
Babies: Born to Be Good? is a Stormy Nights Production, produced by Gail McIntyre & Amélie Blanchard and directed and written by Eileen Thalenberg in association with CBC-TV.