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We all know the term "white lie" which typically refers to a simple and seemingly innocent fib that won't have any far-reaching consequences. Well, as it turns out, a white lie can have some pretty far reaching effects.

A new study has found that lying causes certain changes in your brain that it easier to fabricate even larger lies in the future. Let's find out how it works.

That Fading Feeling

A paper publishing in the journal Nature Neuroscience is the source of our information today. People who participated in the study played a guessing game.

When they lied for the first time, there was a large emotional response, but as time went on, that effect faded. In addition, their lies also became more and more significant as time went on.

"Dr. Tali Sharot of University College in London commented on the phenomenon: Whether it's evading taxes, infidelity, doping in sports, making up data in science or financial fraud, deceivers often recall how small acts of dishonesty snowballed over time and they suddenly found themselves committing quite large crimes."

The effect here is similar to emotional adaptation. An example is when someone is shown a violent photograph. They are originally appalled, but the effect becomes less so as they are exposed to the photo and others like it.

As time went on, the researchers hypothesized that there was something physical happening in the brain when these people lied.

How Lying Changes Your Brain

During the tests, the scientists used MRI scanners to see how the brain was affected by lying. They saw changes happening in the amygdala which is the part of the brain that handles emotion.

Initially, this part of the brain reacted strong to a lie, but that same reaction decreased over time, especially as the lies got larger.

"When we lie for personal gain, our amygdala produces a negative feeling that limits the extent to which we are prepared to lie. However, this response fades as we continue to lie, and the more it falls the bigger our lies become." Dr. Sharot said.

The study ultimately showed that small lies that we deem as inconsequential can indeed have far-reaching effects. What do you think about this? Do you try your best not to lie?

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