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Lying won’t stretch your nose, but it will steal some brainpower

Most of us have told a lie at one time or another. Some lies are harmful. Others — like the ones above — are mostly harmless. Still other lies, such as those used to protect other people, may even be created with the best of intentions. But no matter what kind of lie you tell, it takes a surprising amount of brainpower to pull it off.

Using up that brainpower can be costly. The brain drain it causes just might prevent you from performing some task or skill that’s important to you. And, of course, lying can have unwanted social impacts, too.

People lie for different reasons. Sometimes they do it to make themselves look better. Sometimes they lie to get out of trouble. Often, people will tell a fib to keep from hurting another’s feelings.

Overall, most people don’t lie very much, says Timothy Levine. He’s a psychologist at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Levine studies deception. And he’s done a lot of research on when and how much people lie.

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