Truth is one-third of people lie about sex, age and drinking

THE truth has been revealed about lying. From fabricating chunks of their CV, trimming a few inches off their waistline, or rounding down the number of notches on their bedpost, it seems many people shun honesty in order to impress and get on in the world.

A poll of 2,000 people across Britain has uncovered a litany of untruths commonly told by people about their lifestyle and employment history.

More than a third of people regularly lie about their age, according to the survey, which is published today.

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Some 36 per cent of people questioned admitted to lying about their age, whether to impress members of the opposite sex, or appear old enough to legally buy alcohol.

A similar number, 35 per cent, said they often lied about how much they drank on a night out. Whereas younger drinkers were found to exaggerate how much they had imbibed, older people were more likely to play down how much they consumed.

More than a third of people, 34 per cent, also said they lied about their sexual history, with 29 per cent of men saying they exaggerated the number of people they have slept with to impress their friends. Women were more likely to reduce the figure, for fear of being branded promiscuous. Appearance also proved an issue prone to aversion. Nearly a third of woman said they have lied about their dress size. More than one in five men, meanwhile, have exaggerated the size of their manhood.

People also admitted telling lies on their CV in an attempt to impress prospective employers. More than a quarter of those polled have simply invented qualifications on paper, while 12 per cent have said they would be prepared to conceal a criminal record from interviewers.

The findings of the survey, commissioned by UKTV to publicise its new satellite channel Really confirms psychological theories as to why people are economical with the truth.

Dr Mark Wilkinson, a business psychologist based in Somerset, said there were different reasons why people lie.

"Some people are out and out fibbers who tell lies to try and benefit themselves. There's a theory from an evolutionary point of view that people who lie get more, and that it's an advantage in getting more money.

"Other people are honest, but they sometimes do not tell the truth because they don't want to upset people."

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Dr Wilkinson added ego was also a factor, particularly where men are concerned. "Men are far more likely to try and benchmark themselves against others. They are more likely to exaggerate than women."

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