Two new neuroimaging studies published in the journals Neuropsychologiaand NeuroImage reveal that telling the truth gives people greater satisfaction than the same rewards given for deceit.
Two types of deception were explored. In the first type of deception, the recipient did not know that the deceiver was lying. In the second type of deception, the recipient was fully aware of deceiver’s intention, like bluffing in a poker game. The researchers found that the deceiver’s cortical reward system more active in both experiments when a reward was gained from telling the truth than through deception.
"Our findings together show that people typically find truth-telling to be more rewarding than lying in different types of deceptive situations," said Professor Kang Lee of the University of Toronto, whose research is funded in part by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.
The two studies used a new neuroimaging technique called near-infrared spectroscopy in order to be one of the first to address the question whether lying brings more or less satisfaction than telling the truth.