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更新時間:2019/5/1 7:24:04 來源:紐約時報中文網 作者:佚名

What if we knew when people were lying?
謊言是“必需品” 如果所有謊言都消失會怎樣?

In Season One of the TV show The Good Place, Chidi Anagonye, an ethics and moral philosophy professor, faces a dilemma when a colleague asks his opinion about a new pair of boots. Chidi clearly dislikes the boots, which are a garish shade of red and encrusted in crystals, but to spare his colleague’s feelings, he says that he loves them.

在電視劇《善地》(The Good Place)第一季,倫理和道德哲學教授阿納戈尼耶(Chidi Anagonye)被同事問及對一雙新靴子的看法,感覺左右為難。他顯然不喜歡那雙靴子,花哨的紅色,上面還瓖著水晶,但為顧及同事的面子,他說自己喜歡。

Chidi immediately regrets lying and begins obsessing over his moral failings, even as his exasperated girlfriend reassures him, “Sometimes we just lie to be polite.” Eventually, Chidi can no longer bear the guilt and confesses his true feelings to his colleague: “The boots are terrible, and hideous, and I hate them!” The colleague is clearly hurt by the revelation.

阿納戈尼耶立刻就後悔自己說謊了,並為自己的道德瑕疵糾結不已,盡管女友有些厭煩,開解他說,“有時候,我們說謊只是出于禮貌。”最後,阿納戈尼耶還是無法忍受這種負罪感,向同事坦誠了真實想法︰“那雙靴子太可怕了,丑得嚇人,我一點也不喜歡!”同事被他的大實話傷害了。

For Chidi and some other philosophers, the obligation not to lie trumps all other moral imperatives, including not hurting someone’s feelings. Few people actually adhere to such a strict prescription for honesty, however. Lying is an accepted part of daily life, from our automatic response of “good” when asked how we are, to the praise we give when a friend asks if we like her awful new haircut (or pair of boots).

對于阿納戈尼耶和其他一些哲學家來說,最重要的道德準則就是不說謊,也不傷害他人的感情。然而,很少有人能完全奉行誠實之道。說謊在日常生活中是可接受的,別人問候我們時,我們脫口回應“很好”;朋友問我們是否喜歡她難看的新發型(或者靴子)時,我們給予贊美。

Yet despite the ubiquity of lies in our lives, most of us are not very good at detecting deception. What would happen, though, if we could suddenly tell, without a doubt, when we were being lied to? The technological or psychological mechanism that would enable this impossible new skill is not worth dwelling on. Instead, what matters is what it reveals about the often-overlooked and underestimated role lying plays in our lives.

盡管謊言在生活中無處不在,大多數人並不太擅長識別欺騙。假如任何時候我們能夠確信無疑地知道他人在對我們撒謊,會怎麼樣?測謊的技術和心理機制,並不太值得關注。相反,識別謊言後,我們就了解其在我們生活中所起的作用,這往往遭到忽視和低估。

Many researchers believe humans began lying to each other almost as soon as they invented language, primarily as a way to get ahead. “Lying is so easy compared to other ways of gaining power,” Sissela Bok, an ethicist at Harvard University, told National Geographic. “It’s much easier to lie in order to get somebody’s money or wealth than to hit them over the head or rob a bank.”

許多研究者認為,自從語言形成後,人類就互相撒謊,主要是作為一種達成目的的手段。“與其他獲取權力的方式相比,說謊簡單易行,”哈佛大學(Harvard University)的倫理學家博克(Sissela Bok)在接受《國家地理》(National Geographic)采訪時表示。“為了得到錢財,撒謊可比肉體攻擊或者搶銀行要容易得多。”

Throughout human history, lying has also served as “an evolutionary necessity to protect ourselves from harm,” says Michael Lewis, a distinguished professor of paediatrics and psychiatry at Rutgers University. This includes protection from persecution a purpose that lying still serves today for many people around the world. If we could suddenly detect all lies, lives in countries where infidelity, homosexuality or certain religious beliefs are illegal could be put at risk.

縱觀人類歷史,撒謊也是“進化中保護自己免受傷害的必需品”,拉特格斯大學(Rutgers University)兒科和精神病學特聘教授劉易斯(Michael Lewis)說。這包括保護自己不受迫害,對世界各地許多人來說,說謊仍然是出于這個目的。如果我們能突然能夠鑒別所有謊言,那麼生活在那些不貞、同性戀或宗教信仰違法的國家,就有可能會面臨危險。

Lying also benefits us when the stakes are less high, including at work. If we told our boss what we really thought of him, or why we actually didn’t make our deadline, we might be fired or demoted. We also lie to make ourselves look better and maintain an air of professionalism. “Recently, I was late to a meeting, and I just said the subway was slow,” says Kang Lee, a professor of applied psychology and human development at the University of Toronto. “In fact, the subway didn’t delay me I was just late because of my own fault but I don’t think it would be good for me professionally if my colleagues could detect this.”

在風險較小的情況下,撒謊也讓我們受益,包括在工作中。如果我們告訴老板對他的真實看法,或者我們未能按時完成工作的真正原因,我們可能會被解雇或者降級。我們撒謊,還是為了讓自己看起來更好,保持一種專業氣氛。“不久前,有次開會我遲到了,我只是說地鐵晚點了,”多倫多大學(University of Toronto)的應用心理學和人類發展教授李康說。“其實,地鐵並沒有耽誤我,遲到是我自己造成的,但我想如果同事知道了,在職業上不會對我有什麼好處。”

On the other hand, there are times at work when it would be beneficial to know when we’re being lied to, says Clark Freshman, a professor of law at the University of California, Hastings, and a specialist in lie detection. By asking the right questions in negotiations and being assured of accurate answers, minority employees, for example, could more easily secure salaries and positions on par with their majority counterparts.

加州大學黑斯廷斯分校(University of California, Hastings)的法學教授、測謊專家費舍曼(Clark Freshman)說,另一方面,在工作中有時候如果知道我們什麼時候被騙是有益的。例如,在談判中提出恰當的問題並確保得到恰當的答案,少數族裔雇員更容易獲得與多數族裔雇員同等的工資和職位。

“For me, a world in which people could know the truth that mattered to them would be a great world,” Freshman says. “We’d have less discrimination and more equity.”

“在我看來,如果人們能夠了解重要的真相,那麼這將是一個偉大的世界,”費舍曼說。“我們會少一些歧視,多一些公平。”

We’d also have more hurt feelings. For most of us, a world without lies would deliver an immediate blow to our self-image, says Dan Ariely, professor of psychology and behavioural economics at Duke University. “Living with the truth means you would get more honest, brutal feedback about your work, the way you dress, the way you kiss all kinds of things like that,” he says. “You would realise that people don’t pay as much attention to you and you’re not as important and highly qualified as you think you are.”

我們也會有更多受到傷害感受。杜克大學(Duke University)心理學和行為美高梅官方开户學教授阿里(Dan Ariely)說,對于我們大多數人來說,一個沒有謊言的世界會給我們的自我形象帶來直接的打擊。“說實話意味著你在自己的工作、穿著方式、親吻方式,還有各種各樣的事情上,都會得到更加誠實、殘酷的反。 彼。“你會意識到,人們並不像你想的那樣關注你,你也並不像你以為的那麼重要和高素質。”

On the other hand, completely honest feedback would give us a chance at self-improvement and learning but whether it’s a worthwhile trade-off, Ariely is unsure.

另一方面,完全誠實的反饋會給我們一個自我提升和學習的機會,但是否值得這麼做,阿里並不確定。

These blows to our self-image would begin virtually as soon as we learned to speak warping childhood development in unpredictable ways. “Imagine a child comes over and says ‘Daddy, mummy, look at my painting!’ and you respond, ‘It’s horrible!’” Lee says. “The negative impacts would be immediate.” Some of the innocence of childhood would also be lost, including magical make-believe such as Father Christmas, the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny. Instead, through their inquisitiveness, children would be exposed early on to the harsh realities of life which would not necessarily be a good thing.

幾乎在我們一學會說話,對我們自尊的打擊就開始了,且以不可預測的方式扭曲我們的童年成長。“想像一下,當孩子走過來說,‘爸爸媽媽,看我畫的畫!’你的回答是,‘太可怕了!’”李康說,“負面影響將是立竿見影的。”一些童年的純真也會消失,包括那些神奇的虛構人物,像是聖誕老人、牙仙子和復活節兔子。相反,由于好奇心的緣故,孩子們很早就暴露在嚴酷的生活現實,這未必是一件好事。

“There’s a lot of things that if children knew about, they’d find hard to understand,” says Paul Ekman, a professor emeritus of psychology at the University of California, San Francisco. “All concealment, particularly by parents to children, is not malevolent.”

“有很多事情,如果孩子們知道了,會很難理解,”加州大學舊金山分校(University of California, San Francisco)心理學榮譽退休教授埃克曼(Paul Ekman)說。“所有的隱瞞,尤其是父母對孩子的隱瞞,都不是惡意的。”

Children themselves learn the social value of lying from a very young age. “Mom might say to the child, ‘Listen, grandma is going to give you a present for Hanukkah, and you’ve got to tell grandma that you like it, otherwise it’ll hurt her feelings,’” Lewis says. By the age of three or four, studies show that many children have mastered the art of the polite lie.

兒童從很小就了解到了說謊的社會價值。劉易斯說,“媽媽可能會對孩子說,‘听好了,奶奶要送你一份光明節(Hanukkah,猶太節日)禮物,你必須跟奶奶說你喜歡,否則奶奶會難過的。’”研究表明,到了三、四歲時,許多孩子已經掌握了出于禮貌而撒謊的藝術。

In experiments in an in-press article, Lewis has also found that the more intelligent and emotionally mature the child, the more likely she is to lie when asked if she peeked at a toy she was instructed not to look at. Kang and his colleagues likewise found that learning to lie has cognitive benefits for kids.

在一篇尚未發表的文章中,劉易斯通過實驗還發現,越是聰明、成熟的兒童,在被問及是否偷看了被告知不要看的玩具時,越有可能撒謊。李康和同事也發現,學會撒謊對孩子的認知能力有好處。

By the time we’re adults, most of us are lying on a regular basis. In a hallmark 1996 study, Bella DePaulo, a social psychologist at the University of California, Santa Barbara, found that college students lied about once in every three social interactions, and older adults did so about once in every five social interactions. “In many of the lies of everyday life, people pretend to feel more positively than they really do,” DePaulo wrote on PsychCentral. “If they dislike you, they may try to cover that up. If they are bored by what you are saying, they might make the effort to appear interested.”

成年後,我們大多數人都會經常撒謊。在1996年的一項重要研究中,加州大學聖塔芭芭拉分校(University of California, Santa Barbara)的社會心理學家德保羅(Bella DePaulo)發現,大學生每三次社交互動中就會撒一次謊,而老年人每五次社交活動中就會撒一次謊。 “在日常生活的許多謊言中,人們假裝比他們真正的感受更正面,”德保羅在心理中心網站(PsychCentral)上寫道。“如果他們不喜歡你,他們可能會試圖掩蓋這一點。如果他們覺得你說話很沒有意思,他們可能會努力表現出感興趣的樣子。”

Indeed, in terms of interpersonal relationships, “it would be an utter disaster if we could in fact detect lying and deception,” Lewis says. “Lying is a total and complete necessity in a culture in which the moral understanding is you don’t want to hurt the feelings of other people.”

事實上,就人際關系而言,“如果我們真的能識別謊言和欺騙,那將是一場徹底的災難,”劉易斯說。“在道德理解是你不想傷害他人才撒謊的文化中,說謊是完全必要的。

We’re all co-conspirators in the ubiquity of so-called little white lies. “Most people unwittingly, collusively cooperate with the deceiver to allow themselves to be misled,” Ekman says. At the end of a dinner party, for example, we typically tell our hosts that we had a great time even if we hated every moment. Our hosts readily believe this, having no desire themselves to know just how awful we found their company and food.

我們都是無處不在的所謂善意謊言的共謀者。埃克曼說︰“大多數人都在不知不覺中與撒謊者勾結,讓自己被誤導。”比如,在晚宴結束時,我們通常會跟主人說我們玩得很開心,即使每時每刻都覺得厭煩。主人也會欣然相信這一點,他們並不想知道我們覺得他們多煩人,食物多難吃。

The downside to this form of polite lying, Lewis says, is that we might get invited back again “but that’s the price for sparing the feelings of others.” In a world without such polite lies, friendships would crumble, professional relations would be strained and family gatherings would be even more fraught than they already are.

劉易斯說,這種禮貌謊言不好的一面是,我們可能會再次被邀請,“但這是為了不傷害別人的感情所付出的代價。”在一個沒有這些禮貌謊言的世界里,友誼會決裂,職業關系會很緊張,家庭聚會更不和諧。

Our closest romantic relationships are not spared from lies, either. In a now-classic 1989 study conducted by Sandra Metts at the University of Illinois, just 33 of 390 people were unable to recall a situation in which they were “not completely truthful” with a romantic partner. Likewise, in 2013 Jennifer Guthrie and Adrianne Kunkel from the University of Kansas found that just two of 67 participants in a study did not deceive their romantic partners over the course of a single week.

我們最親密的情感關系也未能幸免。1989年,伊利諾伊大學(University of Illinois)的梅茨(Sandra Metts)進行了一項經典研究,390人當中,除了33人外,其余所有人都記得曾發生過對戀人“沒有完全誠實”的情況。同樣,2013年,堪薩斯大學(University of Kansas)的格思里(Jennifer Guthrie)和孔克爾(Adrianne Kunkel)發現,在一項研究中,67名參與者里只有兩人在一周內沒有欺騙自己的戀人。

In both studies, most people said they engaged in dishonesty in order to avoid hurting their partner or damaging their relationship. If romances suddenly involved total truthfulness about everything from the way our partner looks in the morning to whether we ever engaged in infidelity, many relationships likely would not last.

在這兩項研究中,大多數人都說是為了避免傷害伴侶或破壞雙方關系而做出不誠實行為。如果情感關系突然變得要完全誠實,從戀人清晨的容貌,到是否曾發生過不忠的行為,許多關系很可能無法持久。

“I like to joke that the reason my wife and I have been married 40 years is because we have separate bathrooms,” Ekman says. “That’s only partially a joke, though, because there’s things you don’t want people, even your spouse, to know about and it isn’t just bathroom behaviour.”

“我喜歡開玩笑說,我和妻子婚姻持續40年的原因就在于我們有各自的浴室,”埃克曼說。“不過,這只是一個玩笑話而已,因為有些事情你不想讓別人知道,哪怕是你的配偶,不僅僅是上洗手間的行為。”

There are some ways that lie-detecting abilities would be unambiguously beneficial, however. For one, we could immediately detect pathological liars, or those who engage in destructive, serial lying that lacks any social merit, Lewis says. Pathological liars are often narcissists whose need for self-deception is driven by an extreme aversion to shame and is so deeply rooted that they believe their own lies even if they contradict readily-observable facts or statements they’ve made before.

在某些時候,發現謊言的能力無疑是有益的。劉易斯說,首先,我們可以立即發現病態的說謊者,或者那些謊話連篇的人,他們的謊言具有破壞性,缺乏社會價值。病態撒謊者往往是自戀狂,他們對自我欺騙的需求是出于對羞恥的極度厭惡所驅動,而這種厭惡如此根深蒂固,以至于他們相信了自己的謊言,即使它這些謊言與明顯的事實或者他們之前做過的陳述相矛盾。

According to Lewis, Donald Trump is a classic example of this. “His self-deception is so enormous that he simply does not know he’s lying,” he says.

劉易斯認為,特朗普(Donald Trump)就是一個典型的例子。“他自欺欺人到了根本不知道在撒謊的程度,”他說。

Lying in politics, of course, is nothing new, says Vian Bakir, a professor of political communication and journalism at Bangor University in Wales. Plato recognised the merit of the “noble lie,” she says, while the classic political text The Prince for deception’s essential role in political leadership.

威爾士班戈大學(Bangor University)的政治傳播與新聞學教授巴基爾(Vian Bakir)表示,在政治上撒謊,當然並不是什麼新鮮事。她表示,柏拉圖認識到“高尚謊言”的價值,而經典政治著作《君主論》(The Prince)也肯定了欺騙在政治領導中的重要作用。

That said, however, “lying in politics appears to have become super-charged in recent years,” Bakir says. “What is particularly bad about the current moment is that some prominent politicians like Trump, Vladimir Putin and other strong men around the world have taken to brazen lying as a matter of habit and course and don’t care if they’re found out.”

不過,即便如此,“近年來,政治上撒謊似乎變得越來越嚴重,”巴基爾說。“當下尤其糟糕,特朗普、普京(Vladimir Putin)等政客,以及世界各地一些強勢人物撒謊成性,他們不以為恥,也不在乎是否會被別人發現。”

According to PolitiFact, a fact-checking site owned by the non-profit Poynter Institute for Media Studies, 70% of Donald Trump’s statements are mostly false, false or “pants on fire,” compared just 32% for Hillary Clinton.

據非盈利機構波因特傳媒研究學院(Poynter Institute for Media Studies)所屬的事實核查網站PolitiFact稱,特朗普70%的陳述基本都是虛假的、或是徹頭徹尾的謊言,相較而言,希拉里(Hillary Clinton)的這一比例僅為32%。

Institutions can also brazenly lie, she adds. Britain’s Vote Leave campaigning organization repeatedly stated that the EU costs the UK over £350 million every week a claim that the UK Statistics Authority later called “a clear misuse of official statistics.”

她還表示,機構也會明目張膽地撒謊。英國的脫歐運動組織“投脫歐一票”(Vote Leave)反復表示,歐盟每周給英國帶來超過3.5億英鎊的損失。英國統計局(UK Statistics Authority)後來稱其“明顯濫用官方統計數據”。

“Given that this claim was not just wrong but a significant and deliberate part of the campaigning material, it would be fair to say that there was deceptive intent there,” Bakir says.

巴基爾說︰“這種說法是錯誤的,而且是競選材料中一個重要、經過深思熟慮的部分,公平地說,那就是存心欺騙。”

Despite ample evidence of dishonesty among certain politicians and political groups, support among core voters tends to remain strong. Bakir points out that studies show that people who strongly believe misinformation are very hard to persuade otherwise, and adds that that, as a species, we suffer from confirmation bias, or a predisposition to believe things that fit into our worldview.

盡管有大量證據表明某些政客和政治團體不誠實,但核心選民的支持往往不會減弱。巴基爾指出,研究表明,執著相信錯誤信息的人很難被說服,還說,我們本質上存在認知偏見,或習慣相信符合我們世界觀的東西。

In a world in which people could automatically detect lying for themselves, however, support of dishonest politicians could fall by the wayside. “A lot of Trump supporters think this person is getting a bum rap, that he’s not really lying,” Freshman says. “But if people could find out through their own knowledge that they’re being lied to, I think a lot of them would stop making excuses.”

然而,在人們可以自動辨識謊言的世界里,對撒謊政客的支持可能會堅持不下去。“很多特朗普的支持者認為這個人受到了不公正的指責,他並沒有撒謊,”費舍曼說。“但如果人們能主動發現自己被騙了,我想其中很多人就不會再找借口了。”

A world without lies would throw international relations and diplomacy into chaos, but ultimately, citizens would likely benefit from more honest politicians and officials. The same applies to policing and criminal justice. Police violence and bias would decrease officers could simply ask suspects if they are carrying a weapon or if they are responsible for a crime and trials would be replaced with a simple set of questions to determine guilt.

沒有謊言將使國際關系和外交陷入混亂,但最終,公民可能會因更誠實的政治家和官員而受益。這同樣適用于警務和刑事司法。警察暴力和偏見將會減少。警察可以簡單詢問嫌疑人是否攜帶武器,或者他們是否應對某起罪案負責,而審判也將被一系列簡單的問題所取代,以確定罪行。

“I certainly think this would have benevolent applications in the criminal justice world,” Ekman says. “We want the perpetrator to be found and we don’t want to misjudge an innocent person and punish someone for a crime they didn’t commit.”

“我當然認為,這將在刑事司法領域造成有益的後果,”埃克曼說。“我們希望找到作惡者,我們不想冤枉無辜的人,也不想因為他們沒有犯過的罪行懲罰他們。”

It's impossible to predict all the ways we would benefit and suffer if all lies were laid bare, but what is for certain is that the world would be a very different place to the one we live in today. Humans, however, are adaptable, and “over time, we would develop new norms and acceptable codes of social conduct,” Bakir says.

如果所有的謊言都被揭穿,我們不可能預測哪些方面會受益,哪些方面會需忍受痛苦,但可以肯定的是,這個世界將與我們今天生活的世界大不相同。然而,人類是有適應能力的,“隨著時間的推移,我們會形成新的規範和可接受的社會行為準則,”巴基爾說。

At the same time, she continues, we would likely do all we could to develop new ways of lying and deceiving each other, whether through technology, drugs, social behaviour or mental training.

她接著說,與此同時,我們很有可能會竭盡所能地形成撒謊與欺騙的新方法,不管是通過技術、藥品、社會行為或者精神訓練。

Kang agrees. “I’m 100% certain we’d continue to deceive each other somehow, we’d just find a different way to do it. It’s a life necessity.”

李康對此表示同意。“我百分百地確定,我們會繼續以某種方式欺騙對方,我們只是找到了不同的方式來做這件事。撒謊是生活的必需品。”

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