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Welcome to Dishonesty Uncovered, where we explore
what drives the deceptive and dishonest

Dishonesty is a core component of fraud, which globally is estimated to cost a staggering £3.89 trillion each year – and is on the rise. In the UK alone, the cost of fraud to business is estimated at £130 billion.

Research indicates humans are ill equipped to detect dishonest and deceptive behaviour. Studies have shown that when we communicate with other humans, we presume, by default, that the other person is speaking and acting honestly. In reality, our baseline chance of accurately telling whether someone is lying is 54% - only slightly better than flipping a coin.

Widely held beliefs about what dishonesty looks and sounds like are routinely debunked by science, revealing instead just how our existing biases – conscious or otherwise – cloud our objective evaluation.

In this series, we explore dishonesty and the psychological, intellectual and visual factors at play. Why do people lie? What role, if any, does demeanour and personality play? How might our own unchecked beliefs get in the way of evaluating truthfulness? What does science tell us about relying on memory, and how does that intersect with perceptions of dishonesty?

We also look at the responses to dishonesty – from civil or criminal legal remedies to portrayals in art, literature and popular culture.

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