The Truth Behind Lies

What does a lie mean? Most people would not use biology to describe it. But, I will. A lie is any verbal, gestural or iconic statement by an individual that enhances his/her chances of survival at the cost of convenience (or even lives) of other individuals, not restraining to its particular species.

Lets clarify this with examples from the wild.

  1. Angler fish lies buried in the ocean floor with only part of a fin projecting above, wriggling like a worm.The ‘worm’ lures the smaller fish into the mouth of its owner.
  2. Fireflies emit species-specific coded flashes to lure mates. Females of one species copy flashes of others to attract their males and prey on them when the betrayed lovers approach their hideouts.

It takes little sense to extend these examples to analogs in human behaviour. The tendency to lie is also determined by genetic factors. Research in behavioural genetics may lead to the formulation of a more honest society. A research last year suggested a relation between the behaviour of children against the kind of parenting governed by a set of five genes termed as the orchid genes.

When 3, 4 or 5 genes were present, the child’s behaviour improved with parenting. The situation was much more steep for 5 genes. But, for only two genes, the behaviour worsened with better parenting.


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