Watch Out for Teasing Techniques to Discover the Lies Behind the Truth.

Figuring out when someone is honest can be tedious. Doubled in an election year . To stay toned, watch out for a technique called “falsification,” which uses truthful statements to distort your perception.

As the business site Harvard Business Review explains, fraudulent behavior occurs when a person – such as a politician or a salesperson – feeds you truthful statements but either ignores the key context or simply misinterprets the information for you. Since the individual statements are correct, you can assume that their output is correct, even if it is incorrect:

There is a word for a way of using truthful facts to deceive: “self-indulgence.” It’s not just politics. In our recent work, Todd Rogers and Richard Zeckhauser of Harvard Kennedy School, Maurice Schweitzer of Wharton, Mike Norton of Harvard Business School have studied the use of fraud in negotiations. Negotiators often have access to unique information, and they depend on each other’s statements about that information. Thus, negotiators can often take advantage of their opponents, using deception to gain an advantage.

For example, let’s say you’re buying a TV and the seller tells you that one really expensive TV comes with 4K and HDR , making it a good long-term buy. None of these statements are technically inaccurate. A TV has these features, and they make it relatively promising. However, the seller does not take into account that there is another TV in the next aisle with the same functions for half the price. Nothing the seller said was a lie and you can even check these claims, but they used that trust to sell you the bigger picture, namely that you have to spend a lot of money to get a good TV, which it really wasn’t true.

There is a word for using truthful facts to deceive: frivolity | HBR


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