Pathological liars are the ones who tell compulsive lies and maybe without a clear motive. According to a research, about 13 percent of people reported that they considered themselves as pathological liars or said others consider them to be so. They also reported telling about 10 lies per day.
Researchers studied 623 people recruited from various mental health forums, social media, and a university. Further, those spanning across various range of ages, ethnicities, education levels, and income levels participated in the study. The research was published in the journal Psychiatric Research and Clinical Practice.
The participants responded to the researchers' questions on whether they thought of themselves as pathological liars, or if other people thought so about them, as they all took a lie frequency assessment with more questions.
Greater Distress and Impaired Functioning
The researchers found that those who experienced distress and impaired functioning, mainly in social relationships were likely to be pathological liars. The distress came out of worries if their lies would be discovered. This applies to legal contexts, work, and finances too.
The group of pathological liars said that they lied for no specific reason, while many of their lies grew out of an initial lie. The habit of lying began during their adolescence, they confirmed. The group further said that their lying went out of their control, indicating a kind of compulsiveness. They also felt less anxious after lying.
Pathological liar, as a phenomenon was initially recorded in 1891 by a German psychologist Anton Delbrück. He named it as "pseudologia phantastica", for those who outrageously lied for their behavior to be considered as pathological. One analysis found that pathological lying was equally found among men and women, with their IQs in the average to the above-average range.
To be Defined
Researchers write, "We suggest that PL [Pathologcal Lying] should be defined as a persistent, pervasive, and often compulsive pattern of excessive lying behavior that leads to clinically significant impairment of functioning in social, occupational, or other areas," as it has not been classified as a diagnostic entity.
Pathological lying causes distress and is also a risk to self or others; some such liars conceal the presence of suicidal thoughts in them too. Formally recognizing pathological lying as a disorder would help, researchers claim. Even effective treatments like cognitive-behavioral therapy and pharma drugs can be thought of.