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Lie Catchers: Evolution and Development of Deception in Modern Times


It is well established in the literature on deception that most individuals are not very good at detecting lies. Instead, humans tend to be biased toward truthfulness. In this chapter, we review socio-cognitive processes underlying our judgments of truth and deception. We examine how the development of our species, the development of our own minds, and the development of our sociocultural structures all work toward creating a balance between abilities to lie, and the abilities to detect lies. We suggest that our social networks serve as a deception surveillance system that will usually work to produce the concrete proof that a lie was told, thus removing the evolutionary press for us all to become excellent lie catchers from behavioral responses alone. Finally, as our social world expands, social media has kept up to move the social surveillance system from the level of the village, to the level of the world, as illustrated by some new phenomena like the #MeToo movement.


  • Deception detection
  • Evolution
  • Deception
  • Lying
  • Social cognition
  • Theory of Mind
  • Cooperation
  • Free rider
  • Truth bias
  • #MeToo

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Correspondence to Anne Solbu .

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Solbu, A., Frank, M.G. (2019). Lie Catchers: Evolution and Development of Deception in Modern Times. In: Docan-Morgan, T. (eds) The Palgrave Handbook of Deceptive Communication. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.

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