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DeepModem Mom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-30-05 07:56 PM
Original message
LAT: Study: Adept Liars' Brains Are Built Differently
Study: Adept Liars' Brains Are Built Differently
By Robert Lee Hotz, Times Staff Writer


In the lexicon of lying, there are white lies and bare-faced lies. Facts can be fudged, forged or shaded. There are fibbers, fabricators and feckless fabulists. By whatever clinical term, the truth simply is not in some people.

Now scientists have an anatomical inkling why.

A new study from the University of Southern California, published in the October issue of the British Journal of Psychiatry, suggests that the talent for compulsive deception is embedded in the structure of the brain itself.

People who habitually lie and cheat pathological liars appear to have much more white matter, which speeds communication between neurons, in the prefrontal cortex than normal people, the researchers found. They also have fewer actual neurons.

The differences affect a portion of the brain, located just behind the forehead, that enables people to feel remorse, learn moral behavior and plan complex strategies....


http://www.latimes.com/la-093005liar_lat,0,7350923.stor...
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glitch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-30-05 07:58 PM
Response to Original message
1. I knew a pathological liar who was in a car accident - major frontal lobe
damage but he recovered. I don't know if he was a liar before the accident, but afterwards he was compulsive.
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Blaq Dem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-01-05 06:07 AM
Response to Reply #1
23. How do you know if he wasn't lying about being in the accident?
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glitch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-01-05 11:16 AM
Response to Reply #23
33. Really, really good point! I don't. nt
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SmokingJacket Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-30-05 08:01 PM
Response to Original message
2. Hmm... I wonder if this goes for people who write fiction, too...
very interesting.

Anyone who's met a genuine compulsive liar knows there's something very different about how their brains work...
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EST Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-30-05 08:13 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. Most of the time, I have found, the really good liars are the
most destructive, being difficult to spot and likely to have accumulated a large group of confederates who are injured when the shit eventually hits the fan.
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Wordie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-01-05 12:05 PM
Response to Reply #4
38. This may explain why people of middling intelligence can often be highly
and successfully devious. I would have thought that the ability to pull the wool over other peoples' eyes would be related to intelligence.

It has always seemed to me though, that people who lie a lot do so because they really BELIEVE their own lies. So when they lie, they don't percieve themselves as doing so; they are unaware that they are lying. I wonder how that phenomenon fits with this study.
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tenshi816 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-01-05 03:03 PM
Response to Reply #38
42. I completely agree with you about this.
My mother was a habitual liar (note I didn't say compulsive, because I don't believe she felt compelled to lie, but it was just as much a habit for her as smoking). She lied routinely to everyone - friends, family, me, didn't matter who it was, and what my dad and I finally figured out was exactly what you said: she believed her lies. Even when Mom was caught lying (which was often), she would still insist she was telling the truth, and I honestly believe she thought she was.

The only good thing that came from it is that I'm now very good at spotting liars myself.
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EST Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-01-05 05:18 PM
Response to Reply #38
49. I don't think it's quite that simple.
Edited on Sat Oct-01-05 05:19 PM by EST
Rather than actually believing their lies (they don't,) they view those lies as a form of protection. If a habitual liar is well and truly caught, there is absolutely no percentage in owning up to the facts. The only safe, protected thing to do is to stick with the original story, no matter what.
Why is this? There are several reasons but, probably, the most important one is that the questioner, the one being lied to who ain't buying it, is still guessing and may not really know the truth so the liar must not affirm it.
This may sound convoluted and it is, a bit, but with a little practice, it becomes second nature.
Most lies begin with the liar's feelings of inadequacy and an overwhelming need to defend or protect against that inadequacy by filling in the blanks or building the liar up - a little or a lot. If a liar is asked a penetrating question, it means that the liar is about to be exposed and the "protection" shield goes into operation with ferocity, because the most important thing is not to be found out and the lies can become thick and fast. There is never a thought to telling the truth as the preferable alternative until after the lieing is done and there is no turning back, no matter how much one may regret it.
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Wordie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-01-05 09:00 PM
Response to Reply #49
58. ...sounds very Freudian. Perhaps there are lots of types of lies and liars
Edited on Sat Oct-01-05 09:03 PM by Wordie
because it seems to me that while what you are saying could be one explanation, there are plenty of other ones as well.

And, nearly everyone responding to this thread has taking a "lying as sin" sort of approach. And it isn't, always. What about those who lie for altruistic purposes? (For instance, to protect an innocent person from an oppressor.) What about their white-to-gray matter ratio? What about white lies?
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EST Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-02-05 10:18 AM
Response to Reply #58
64. I approve of lies under certain circumstances.
Edited on Sun Oct-02-05 10:23 AM by EST
If it weren't for some lies, people couldn't live together. I don't regard lies as "sin," particularly, since sin is strictly in the eye of the beholder.
The lies we were discussing weren't those lies for purpose, but those that the perpetrator can't seem to resist telling, even when the truth is obviously preferable. I agree with you.
I am not sure about the Freudian part, but there is a huge psychological load attached to the practice. My own thinking on the subject is informed by quite a bit of research on this issue, across multiple case histories. Not every habitual liar falls strictly under this pattern, but almost anyone can start lieing, as you said, to "protect" someone and that protection then can expand until it consumes the perpetrator, robbing him or her of aliveness and the ability to respond with genuineness and authenticity.
I have an brother-in-law who is a highly skilled, inveterate liar, yet he always tells the explicit truth. The way he accomplishes this seemingly impossible task is not by direct lieing, but by leaving out the parts that challenge the world view that he paints.
Some practitioners of the art, such as Bush, have so fallen under the sway of their own erroneous portrayal of their circumstances that they have lost the ability to question their own assumptions and any questioning looks like a challenge to their own survival, prompting a response that is out of proportion to the real facts and circumstances. I have to stand by my original point, until presented dissenting facts, that the lies start with a need to protect and then continue as a result of a need to protect at all costs, with almost every situation triggering that particular need.
Thank you for this interesting discussion.

on edit: The only way that one's self or that of another can be judged as needing protection is that the object (self or other) is inadequate and needs to be protected.
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Wordie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-02-05 12:42 PM
Response to Reply #64
65. Are you saying you reject the idea of this study: a structural difference?
Edited on Sun Oct-02-05 12:47 PM by Wordie
One of the points of the study (at least as far as the article described it) was that the sorts of interpretations of pathological lying behavior that we traditionally have made before (such as yours, suggesting it stems from feelings of inadequacy), are wrong. The study posited an alternative explanation: that it is a case of structural differences in the brain. So, are you saying that you reject that outright?

It appears the jury is still out on this one. Although this study seems to point to SOMETHING going on, it doesn't really establish what it is. Both interpretations seem less than satisfactory: the Freudian type (after all, how can we possibly truly KNOW what someone else's motivations are? We can't; we can only guess, projecting from our own experience and belief system. And that's a rather unreliable method.), and the "brain-chemistry" type of explanation, which assumes a cause and effect that so far is not proved.
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EST Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-02-05 11:19 PM
Response to Reply #65
68. Not at all...
Not having looked at my b-i-l's brain, I certainly could not reject any sort of study on that basis. In point of fact, I would be quite relieved to find that most behavior, at least that outside of what is considered to be "normal," to be a direct result of the physical structure of the "machine." Do keep in mind that habitual feelings of inadequacy or a need for protection would or could also arise from the same physical structure. Most explanations for behavior are, particularly given our current level of understanding, less than totally satisfactory, thus, I must label them as "notions."
After considerable thought, here, today, I realize that the term "inadequacy" may imply sexual inadequacy and that is not my intention, at all. The protection need that I have noted runs the gamut and usually includes several forms of 'not enough,' ie, not good, brave, strong, smart, pretty, etc enough.
Most of the cases I've observed start at (interestingly) about the same time as the maturation of the frontal cortex and, absent an impressive effort by the propounder of the lies, goes on throughout the patient's life, including, quite often a "lurch" in the quality and results of the falsehoods at about the time of puberty.
Due to the unfortunate relationship that apparently exists between habitual lieing and anti-social behavior, any illumination of the underlying causes and, more importantly, opportunities for treatment, are certainly welcome.
Mild forms of habitual lieing, those not associated with overt anti-social behavior, seem to be treatable, with sufficient motivation.
In sum, I find this additional info on physical brain differences quite fascinating and welcome.
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Wordie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-03-05 12:43 PM
Response to Reply #68
71. In what capacity are you making these observations?
You say:
<snip>
Most of the cases I've observed start at (interestingly) about the same time as the maturation of the frontal cortex and, absent an impressive effort by the propounder of the lies, goes on throughout the patient's life, including, quite often a "lurch" in the quality and results of the falsehoods at about the time of puberty.
<unsnip>

That almost sounds as if you are some sort of clinician, yet other parts of your posts...well, I just don't know.

On what basis are you making your observations? With what training?

I'm just curious about what is the background that leads you to make these particular observations and conclusions.
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arikara Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-02-05 03:34 PM
Response to Reply #64
67. Your brother in law is probably using these principles...
I remember reading this years ago in a Robert Heinlein SF novel, but forget which one it was. I've used it successfully myself when I've had to tell a fib. I hate lying, its not part of my nature, and I've only ever done it to avoid hurting someone else. But when I do it I don't get caught.

There are two effective ways to lie. The first is to tell only part of the truth. The second is to tell the truth in such a manner that nobody will believe you.


On the other hand, Bush is a compulsively blatant liar who just spews it out for the sake of lying and as he gets closer to being caught his lies become more obvious.
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EST Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-02-05 11:33 PM
Response to Reply #67
69. In "Door Into Summer" Heinlein also points out the
need for white lies as a form of social grease.
In reading about Bush's early days, it becomes obvious that he is/was a pathological liar as well pathologically anti-social. He is not the sort of person who should have ascended to potus, by any means. He is a criminal and has been whitewashed by money and influence.
Heinlein's books and Asimov's Stars Like Dust (and others) were my own pre-teen blessed introdution to science fiction. Heinlein was that rare neo-con with a heart.
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OldLeftieLawyer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-01-05 12:09 AM
Response to Reply #2
17. I write fiction
It's fiction, as my publisher makes very clear. The books are in the "fiction" section of the libraries and the bookstores.

Still, people over and over ask me about how these things turned out in real life.

Do you think that people who write fiction are liars? Does lying equate with creativity? Is making up a story to sell to a publisher an act of dishonesty, or is the urge to produce a story that might touch or change people's lives?

There were criminal clients I had who absolutely had brains that worked differently, but I had just as many civil clients who were equally adept at lying.
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BlueIris Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-01-05 05:49 AM
Response to Reply #17
20. People ask me why I love O.L.L. This is why.
:-)
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OldLeftieLawyer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-01-05 11:37 AM
Response to Reply #20
36. THEY HAVE TO ASK?????
That's the funniest post I've seen in a long time, Blue.......

<swoon>

(Just as an addendum - I once mentioned to my editor that if I were doing what I do, which is to sit alone in a room and make up people and worlds and situations that never existed, four hundred or more years ago, I'd have been burned at the stake, or, at the very least, locked away.

Now, there is a corporation that pays me handsomely to keep doing it.

Madness? Creativity? Pathology?)
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BlueIris Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-01-05 01:36 PM
Response to Reply #36
39. Hee. Sometimes they ask, yeah.
BECAUSE THEY'RE MEANIES. And have questionable taste.
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OldLeftieLawyer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-01-05 03:50 PM
Response to Reply #39
46. Really...........
There's just no accounting for taste. Or the lack thereof.

heh heh heh

:woohoo:
:toast:
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WhiteTara Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-01-05 11:27 AM
Response to Reply #17
35. the difference lies in the reasons
a writer creates worlds for entertainment. Pathological Liars create worlds to improve their own.
In terms of the study, I'll bet that writers have more grey matter and less white. :shrug:
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mntleo2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-01-05 03:56 PM
Response to Reply #35
47. What Is The Difference?
:evilgrin:
If you make up things for entertainment and profit from it, are you not as well then making up worlds to benefit for yourself?

buuuhahahahahaaaaa!

Cat In Seattle
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WhiteTara Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-01-05 06:49 PM
Response to Reply #47
51. making up a story for entertainment
is a grey matter issue. Making up lies is a white matter issue. :shrug:
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OldLeftieLawyer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-01-05 09:25 PM
Response to Reply #35
59. Uh oh
I create imaginary worlds to improve my own. My publisher pays me for that.

Does that make me a liar?

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SmokingJacket Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-01-05 03:18 PM
Response to Reply #17
43. Liars and fiction writers are both fabulists.
So... they do have a little something in common. They both profit from the ability to create a convincing story.

But I'm a fiction writer, too, and a terrible liar. Why? I blush like crazy when I lie.

Not enough white matter, I guess. ;-)
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OldLeftieLawyer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-01-05 03:48 PM
Response to Reply #43
45. Look up "fabulist"
It means "liar." We're in trouble here, my friend.

I think there's more to it than that, though. I think it's a lot more complicated, and I mean, beyond the brain structure and chemistry.

Once, I asked my agent why I write (we were drinking pretty heavily, and driving fast so that I wouldn't miss my flight), and her answer - she's been in the business a long time - was interesting:

"You write to ease your pain," she said. "Like a plant working its way through the ground to get to the sun."

I think about what she said every day, and sometimes I think she's right, and sometimes I think she's wrong.

But, in this context, is there a motivation for someone to lie, like there is for someone to write fiction? I know that I feel physically better when I write than when I don't, so there's obviously a pleasure concept involved there, a release of some kind, endorphin heaven, so to speak.

I think pathological liars get the same kind of relief when they lie, but, in their cases, I think it's not voluntary. I think they're driven by the structure of their brains, but that begs the question - are the brains that way because they're pathological liars, or are they pathological liars because their brains are so constructed?

Interesting.
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SmokingJacket Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-01-05 06:57 PM
Response to Reply #45
52. I have a book for you, OLL.
Read it: "The Midnight Disease" by Alice Flaherty. She's a doctor, a neurologist IIRC, and has a LOT to say about the drive to write. (Not much about lying, though -- that's my own little diversion.)

Veddy, veddy interesting. Especially if you've ever experienced hypergraphia or its evil twin, writers' block.
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OldLeftieLawyer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-01-05 08:21 PM
Response to Reply #52
57. Hey, thanks...........
I just ordered it. Looks like a very fine read.

How kind of you. Thanks very much.

(Psssssst - I don't believe in writers' block.)
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VegasWolf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-30-05 08:03 PM
Response to Original message
3. Bush's brain must be all anti-matter. nt
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OldLeftieLawyer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-01-05 12:10 AM
Response to Reply #3
18. What brain?
You assume far too much.

Think "vacuum".
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Seabiscuit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-01-05 08:12 AM
Response to Reply #18
26. Isn't KKKarl supposed to be "Bush's brain"?
Edited on Sat Oct-01-05 08:13 AM by Seabiscuit
The study makes sense: more white matter = tapioca for brains.
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peacetalksforall Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-01-05 11:37 PM
Response to Reply #18
61. Think vacumn and vacation? n/t
Edited on Sat Oct-01-05 11:38 PM by higher class
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applegrove Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-30-05 08:14 PM
Response to Original message
5. I think white matter is how people born with brain damage compensate.
If you are missing the lobes.. you automatically build up the white stuff and are a liar. If you are missing some other part..you will have white matter to compensate for that.

Good that they are getting better at defining this. Yes - it is brain anomalies that make for characteristics on the edge. I think people with learning disabilities have lots of white matter too. The problem isn't the white matter so much as the part of the brain that is damaged or missing from birth. White matter is just picking up where the grey matter left off.

Excellent that they can test for these issues now. A court approved lie detector based on stuff like this will save the lives of millions of victims over the years.
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banana republican Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-30-05 10:00 PM
Response to Reply #5
12. Missing Lobes are we talking Ferengi here??? n/t
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reprobate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-01-05 12:22 AM
Response to Reply #12
19. Not EARLOBES. BRAIN lobes. That will be one bar of Latinum please.
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applegrove Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-01-05 10:13 AM
Response to Reply #12
31. I didn't know what you meant. I thought you were talking shoes.
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phiddle Donating Member (749 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-30-05 08:21 PM
Response to Original message
6. Sounds like Cheney to me!
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-30-05 08:38 PM
Response to Reply #6
7. Sounds Like My Ex!
Except he was so bad at it. Face like a billboard.
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Blaq Dem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-01-05 06:12 AM
Response to Reply #6
24. Sounds like Freeper Creepers to me!
And they actually believe those lies too!
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Quakerfriend Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-30-05 08:46 PM
Response to Original message
8. Very interesting.
This may explain why people who are bipolar often have a problem with compulsive lying.

I can remember talking with a friend who was bipolar. She would always recount a story in a way that was just not accurate or true. I would sometimes say to her, "You don't really believe that do you?" And, she would have a fit and accuse me of somehow conspiring against her (another facet of this condition is paranoia).
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BootinUp Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-30-05 09:22 PM
Response to Original message
9. more from newscientist.com

But pathological liars are a distinct group who systematically manipulate others, lie or use aliases for financial gain or personal pleasure, such as to get sickness benefits or to skip work. Its almost like a livelihood, says Raine.

Until now no one has looked at the structure of the brains of this particular group, says psychologist Maureen OSullivan of the University of San Francisco in California, who specialises in lying and truthfulness.

Raine interviewed 108 volunteers from five temporary employment agencies in Los Angeles and set them standard psychopathic tests. This allowed him to identify 12 as pathological liars, 16 as people with a personality disorder but who did not exhibit pathological lying and 21 as controls, who were neither anti-social, nor liars.
White matter

Using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), he scanned the brains of all three groups and found that liars had 26% more white matter compared with anti-social, non-liars, and 22% more than the controls. Liars also had 14% less grey matter than the controls.

http://www.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=dn8075
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Straight Shooter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-30-05 09:24 PM
Response to Original message
10. New slogan for Repubs: "GOP, the white matter party." n/t
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BlueIris Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-01-05 05:56 AM
Response to Reply #10
22. Hee.
Best joke I've heard all day.
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truthisfreedom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-30-05 09:31 PM
Response to Original message
11. this should be re-titled "rethug's brains built differently...less neurons
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brentspeak Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-30-05 10:02 PM
Response to Original message
13. Ken Mehlman's brain must be pure white matter, then
SNL's "Pathological Liar" has nothing on this guy.
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jwirr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-30-05 11:13 PM
Response to Original message
14. Might also be a partial answer to Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.
Edited on Fri Sep-30-05 11:14 PM by jwirr
The child that our family fostered had little conscience, understanding of right or wrong and could look you right in the eye while she said "I didn't steal that car." Maybe bushies alcohol use has distorted his brain?
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msmcghee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-30-05 11:19 PM
Response to Original message
15. The prefrontal cortex is primarily . .
. . concerned with generating motivation based on sensing what others think about us. There's the famous documented example of the guy who was in a mining accident and had a steel tamping rod blast through his prefrontal cortex destroying it but leaving him very much alive.

He went from the capable trusted supervisor of the crew to a listless undependable bum. He knew how to do everything that he knew before the accident. He lost the ability to care what his employer or anyone else thought about him - and he lost that as a motivation for his life.

Lies are almost always used selfishly - to make others see us in a better light than if they knew the truth. I suspect this compulsion to lie is based in an irresistible need to have others see us in the best possible light. They therefore lie whenever a lie would make them appear better than otherwise. For most of us that's just about all the time. ;-)

Even people with moderate or lower than average intelligence can learn to be proficient in a single area of expertise. Like lying for example. So my bet is this operates on motivation - not any special kind of (deceptive) intelligence.
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daleo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-01-05 12:00 AM
Response to Original message
16. Bush, Cheney, Rummy, Blair, etc.
Could it be as simple as too much "white matter"? Maybe they can use this as a sort of insanity defense at The Hague.
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BlueIris Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-01-05 05:54 AM
Response to Original message
21. Maybe the abnormal brain structures alleged here predispose a person
Edited on Sat Oct-01-05 05:55 AM by BlueIris
to lying--but this article is a) about the conclusions drawn by one study and b) appears to ignore the socialization and "nurture" factors that can create pathological liars. The best, or maybe that should be worst, one I ever met? My ex. Like many adult children of non-recovering addicts, the abuse his parents had inflicted on him in childhood created in him a pathological need to lie--which had probably begun as a defense mechanism he used to avoid the irrational punnishments doled out by his alcoholic "caregivers." Which is not to say that I feel bad for him or other liars, just pointing out that in a lot of cases, there are other things that shape a liar than just brain abnormalities.
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rodeodance Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-01-05 08:08 AM
Response to Reply #21
25. used to be gene for every behavior, now its a brain image.




.......A new study from the University of Southern California, published in the October issue of the British Journal of Psychiatry, suggests that the talent for compulsive deception is embedded in the structure of the brain itself.
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mondo joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-01-05 09:06 AM
Response to Reply #21
27. But wouldn't his parents have likely shared at least some of his nature
(as opposed to nurture)?
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BlueIris Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-01-05 01:54 PM
Response to Reply #27
40. I don't know--maybe. But you bring up an interesting point:
Edited on Sat Oct-01-05 01:58 PM by BlueIris
From what I remember of his family, they were very dishonest people in their own right, and taught him that it was "okay to lie" in many situations--in addition to the pathology he developed in response to their abuse, he may have learned to lie--and to rationalize his lying--through the example set by their behavior.

I'm not denying that the actual structure of a liar's brain may play a role in the severity of their desire to lie--at their skill in this behavior--I'm just saying that it isn't always the whole story.
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peacetalksforall Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-01-05 11:46 PM
Response to Reply #40
62. Interesting - when I started reading this thread I thought much had to do
with what parents tolerated, therefore, lying must create white matter.
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Wordie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-01-05 11:58 AM
Response to Reply #21
37. Alt. way of looking at it: NATURE (env. + soc.) may CREATE brain structure
Edited on Sat Oct-01-05 12:15 PM by Wordie
with additional white matter and less gray. Nothing in these studies really says what causes these differences, yet people automatically presume that because we can see a physiological difference, that means the root cause is automatically physiological in nature.

In other words, there IS no reason to assume, as these brain-imaging studies most always do, that the differences the brain scans reveal are a result of something inherent, physically, in that person's brain itself. Instead, the differences discovered could just as easily be the RESULT of environmental and social factors (which over time cause changes in the brain) such as you mention with your ex.

Just as feet were once bound in China, resulting in physical changes (which, as in the case of these brain scans, could be measured) so may we bind brains.
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Wordie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-01-05 03:32 PM
Response to Reply #37
44. ^^^ Whoops! I made an error above ^^^^^ ...meant to say "NURTURE"^^^
Editing time has expired, so I have to correct it this way. What I was trying to express was this:

"An alternative way of looking at it is that NATURE (both the physical and social environments) may CREATE brain structure, creating additional white matter and less gray."

Sorry. In the future, I will try not to post before my morning coffee has hit my synapses.
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ElectroPrincess Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-01-05 09:34 AM
Response to Original message
28. Interesting ...
Edited on Sat Oct-01-05 09:36 AM by ElectroPrincess
"The differences affect a portion of the brain, located just behind the forehead, that enables people to feel remorse, learn moral behavior and plan complex strategies...."

Yes, that's a very detailed physiological explanation for why they have "no shame", "no soul" and "St. Peter will most likely will send them straight to hell without even an hearing." LOL <I'm Teasing!>

I looked over that "Players of Watergate" list in another thread and it was almost "too much fun" imagining how they would look side-by-side as they were "shoveling coal" for The Devil.

If present behavior is any indicator, that mean ole' Devil should be ecstatic about the next generation of "the damned." Why, here on earth they can "shovel shit (propaganda)" better than the old pros P.T. Barnum and Huey Long?

But then again, the Devil may feel upstaged. :blush: :puke:

Oh the horror! If Satan rejects these vampires we're all in for literally "A world of Shit!"

Here comes the beginning of the end of time, SPONSORED by Lockheed Martin, Boeing, CACI, Blackwater, Halliburton, Raytheon and "The Devil's Rejects"!?! :nuke:

And the flame throwers go "WooooooooooSH!" :scared:
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Bloodblister Bob Donating Member (269 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-01-05 09:51 AM
Response to Original message
29. My cousin was a pathological liar...
He was the same age as me, and we were around each other quite a bit while growing up. He would lie about the most trivial things imaginable, always trying to put himself in what he thought was a better light. Naturally, he was eventually distrusted and avoided by everyone.

His life was finally nothing but an endless labyrinth of bizarre deception, and he blew out his prefrontal cortex when he was 30, after trying to kill his wife.

His parents were socially active but peculiar people, who brought a kind of subtle oneupmanship to every group and activity they were involved in, but they weren't really liars, as such. I'm sure they damaged the kid psychologically.

So, in the case of my cousin, I'm not sure if biology or environment was the deciding factor. Perhaps some of both. We'll never know.
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belle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-01-05 10:06 AM
Response to Reply #29
30. I tend to think it's usually some of each, but who really knows.
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whatelseisnew Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-01-05 10:37 AM
Response to Original message
32. Can the structure of the brain change through time?
Have there been studies over extended periods of time?

Can you scan a child's brain and predict their likelihood of becoming pathological liars, remorseless, amoral and unable to plan complex strategies?

Is this a "which came first chicken / egg" scenario?
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Paranoid Pessimist Donating Member (432 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-01-05 11:20 AM
Response to Original message
34. My first ex wife was a pathological liar
She was interesting because, sometimes, the truth is the story that will do the best job of getting you out of trouble ... and she couldn't do it. The need to lie was stronger than the need to get out of trouble. I believe it is a brain malfunction but one that often goes along with sociopathy
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NoodleyAppendage Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-01-05 02:10 PM
Response to Original message
41. HELLO! Correlation is NOT causation! And, brain regions are not isolated
Interesting study, but it is a major JUMP to say that more white matter and less neural matter CAUSES one to be an adept lier.

Also, regional differences in brain anatomy can be driven by differences in structures remote to the original structure of interest. The frontal lobes are the most interconnected region of the brain and it could be that a remote region connected to the frontal lobes (e.g., parietal, cerebellar, etc.) is the actual cause of the frontal white matter differences.

I haven't seen the study, but I suspect that the British Journal of Psychiatry was NOT the first publication choice for this study. Raine likes high profile press, so it's reasonable to assume that he approached one of the top tier journals first (e.g., Nature, Science, etc.) but was rejected. Going straight to BJP doesn't make sense if your study is well designed and as "earth shattering" as the LAT article seems to suggest.

Paint me skeptical...

B
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Wordie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-01-05 04:14 PM
Response to Reply #41
48. Right! Excellent post...are you a scientist? eom
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NoodleyAppendage Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-01-05 05:32 PM
Response to Reply #48
50. Yes, but please don't tell...if lying is hardwired, then can it be a sin??
I'm one of the godless followers of reason and science.

As an aside, the correlation between neuroanatomy and function in regards to lying presents a few metaphysical problems for those who follow Xtian notions of "lying as a sin." If lying is related to neuroanatomical differences and those differences are "hardwired" at birth (which is debatable), then does this mean that some individuals are "born sinners." And, if this is the case, then doesn't this obviate the whole notion of sin, which relies upon the freewill of individuals not to sin?

Ramen.

B
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truthisfreedom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-01-05 07:00 PM
Response to Reply #50
53. i'm an atheist as well, but i don't recall lying to be on the top-ten list
of sins.
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OldLeftieLawyer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-01-05 07:11 PM
Response to Reply #53
54. Oh, it's a biggie
It's that Commandment that says you're not supposed to "bear false witness against thy neighbor"?

That's the lying one. A real biggie.
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NoodleyAppendage Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-01-05 07:24 PM
Response to Reply #53
55. "Bearing false witness..." is a Xtian sin based on Commandments. /eom
B
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Wordie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-01-05 07:48 PM
Response to Reply #50
56. Good points! There is also this:
Edited on Sat Oct-01-05 07:57 PM by Wordie
It may be that lying is an adaptive behavior that allows its practitioners to be more successful, and thus survive.

Looking at animals (and they've discovered "lying" behavior among higher primates, by the way)...those animals who are able to "fake out" their competitors will tend to get more food, more mates, etc., in comparison with those animals who do not lie. Hence, in a purely Darwinian sense, they will be more likely to survive and procreate. So, maybe those lying humans that this thread is discussing are examples of advanced evolution??? (NO FLAMES! I'm not really entirely serious here.)

But there does seem to be SOMETHING to the notion that those who are able to obscure their true motives, etc., will in general be more successful in life. It may be a case of those individuals who lie using what is a truly adaptive behavior and overdoing it. A case of OVER-evolvution, one might say.

Actually, I think it would be defined as a case of an adaptive behavior becoming maladaptive. This probably has to do with the social component of human behavior, which acts as a moderator of the purely "survival of the fittest" sorts of behaviors one thinks of as typically Darwinian. It may be that the notion of "sin" represents the social component of our evolution, preventing the chaos that would ensue if each individual of our species pursued self-interest without regulation of any sort.

This may also be why the unbridled capitalistic notions (and lying) of the far RW and neocons are so entirely off base. They incorporate the Darwinist notions of survival of the fittest into their value system, but fail to understand or incorporate the postive contribution of those regulating social forces that make us do things for the greater good. (I can't believe I managed to get back on the topic of politics there so neatly.)
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followthemoney Donating Member (745 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-01-05 11:36 PM
Response to Reply #56
60. The most developed form of intelligence is the ability to detect lies
An article in the Economist years ago emphasized the survival value of being able to detect lies. Hopefully the skills of lie detection will evolve as rapidly as creative lying skills do.

The liars seem to have the present advantage.

Whistle blowers are lie detectors and are always at a disadvantage, while the liars of the PR industry are heavily subsidized in tax law.
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peacetalksforall Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-01-05 11:59 PM
Response to Reply #60
63. Ms Liar Extraordinaire - Condaleeza, must have much white matter.
And all the think tankers who come up with the bs they think we are going to believe because they, as members of the team, believe themselves?
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ThoughtCriminal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-02-05 12:52 PM
Response to Original message
66. So what's the deal with people who believe liars?
What happens to the neurons of "moRans"?

The bit about an inability to plan complex strategies is interesting. It explains quite a bit about a GOP strategy built on propaganda along with inept governing.

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dwightspencer Donating Member (46 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-03-05 12:10 AM
Response to Original message
70. RE:"LAT: Study: Adept Liars' Brains Are Built Differently"
Once again, the popular media has put together a more palatable version of science that is not that difficult for everyone to understand. I find it abhorrent that they are perpetuating a form of phrenology made popular by Franz Joseph Gall and made into the parlor discussion of the nineteenth century. Enough on my rant, and I realize this is more of a light-hearted forum where the point is the kind of brash lying done by Michael Brown all last week is more what the point of discussion is about. He does not know when to stop lying and just come clean for the sake of trying to avoid future tragedy, but he is adept at saving his own rear end.

For those of you who wish to read further on lateralization, I recommend reading the journal article referenced in the LA Times piece. Alternatively, you can look at this piece by Michael S. Gazzaniga, in the July 1998 Scientific American, called "The Split Brain Revisited."

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