Lying 101: How much do you know about the science of stretching the truth?

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Whether it's a white lie or a whopper, fibs are part of our daily lives. We like to think we're honest but, well, we're not. Test your falsehood expertise.

Question 1 of 10

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Small lies make it easier to tell big lies.

It's pretty much common sense, but when you're good at telling little fibs, it eventually becomes easier to tell bigger ones. Researchers found that the brain makes lying easier the more you do it, kind of numbing the brain to dishonestly.

In the study, published in Nature Neuroscience, researchers found that lying triggers emotional arousal and activates the amygdala in the brain. But with each lie, the arousal drops and it becomes easier to lie, making whoppers easier to tell.

Question 2 of 10

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Parents can tell when their kids are lying about what percent of the time:

Parents aren't very good at knowing when their kids are telling tall tales. Researchers at the University of California, Irvine, analyzed the results of 45 deception experiments that involved kids up to age 15. They found that, on average, adults were able to tell when kids were lying only about half the time.

Sometimes adults got it wrong just because they thought their child "looked guilty."

"Adults view behaviours such as gaze aversion, fidgeting, nervousness, incoherent responses and facial expressions as being indicative of someone lying,” the researchers they wrote in the journal Law and Human Behaviour, according to the Daily Mail.

Question 3 of 10

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What percentage of the population lies?

Almost all of us at least tell white lies, says Dan Ariely, a professor of psychology and behavioral economics at Duke University whose research on dishonesty was featured in the documentary, "Dishonesty, The Truth About Lies."

Ariely told CNBC that the only people who have told him that they (or their children) absolutely cannot lie are on the autistic spectrum.

"And, it is possible that, in autism, the difficulty of having — a theory of mine — an understanding of what people are feeling and caring about is going to eliminate their ability to tell white lies," he said. "Because, you see, white lies are one where I think about your benefit and I lie for your benefit. If I don't understand your benefit, I might not develop that."

Question 4 of 10

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Dishonesty is contagious.

Like the flu or chickenpox, lying can be spread from person to person. You see someone doing it and it makes it easier for you to do it too, says dishonesty expert Ariely.

"We've done some experiments showing that the moment you see other people behaving in a certain way, their behavior is contagious," he says. "You basically look at what other people are doing and that can help us define what we feel is OK and not OK."

Question 5 of 10

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People tend to look to the right when lying.

For years, behavioral training courses taught that people were more likely to look to the right when they were being dishonest and they looked to the left when they were telling the truth.

But researchers from the University of Edinburgh recently monitored the glances of dozens of study participants as they told a mix of lies and truths. They found there was no correlation between the direction of eye movements and whether people were telling the truth.

Question 6 of 10

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Who do we lie to the most?

According to the book, "The Day America Told the Truth," we just can't help lying to Mom and Dad. The authors interviewed 2,000 people and found that 86 percent "regularly" lie to their parents, while 75 percent admitted lying to a friend and 73 percent to a sibling. "Only" 69 percent admitted lying to a spouse or lover, while 61 percent lied to a boss and 59 percent to a child.

Question 7 of 10

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Polygraph tests are about 95 percent foolproof.

Since its invention in the 1920s, the polygraph (or lie detector) has come under scrutiny from the scientific community. The machine measures bodily changes in blood pressure, pulse and skin during questioning with the goal of detecting when the subject is lying.

Although the tests are used for some background checks, job screenings and police investigations, they are very rarely admissible in court. Some studies say they are as accurate as 95 percent, however most experts believe they are much less accurate. Because the results are dependent on who the examiner is, scientists believe the tests are not reliable.

Question 8 of 10

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Who lies more?

Men and women don't tell a different number of lies, according to a University of Massachusetts study, they just tell different types of lies. Women are more likely to lie to make the person they are talking to feel better, while men are more likely to lie to make themselves look better, the researchers found.

Question 9 of 10

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Less trusting people are better at spotting liars.

Maybe surprisingly, people who say they are more trusting are more accurate at detecting a lie. That's what Canadian researchers found when they asked study participants to watch taped job interviews where half the people were truthful and half told three lies in hopes of getting a job.

Those who had filled out an earlier questionnaire saying they believed most people were basically honest, good-natured and kind were the most skilled at detecting the people who told lies.

Question 10 of 10

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In a study, two strangers held a 10-minute conversation. What percentage of them told lies during their chats?

In a University of Massachusetts study, a group of people paired off so two people who had never met sat down and had a quick 10-minute chat. At the end of the discussion, they were asked to watch a video of themselves talking and told to point out anytime they said anything inaccurate. It turns out that 60 percent of the people lied at least once and most told an average of 2-3 lies in that 10-minute period. Even the study participants were shocked they told so many untruths.

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