When first meeting someone, you have to assume that there will be a few white lies told here and there during the "get to know each other" phase. People are often times fearful that they will not be accepted if they tell the every aspect of the truth… at least until you get to know each other.
One of the most common first lies couples tell each other, of course, pertains to sex. It's sad, but now it's commonplace to be skeptical when someone tells you what his or her "number" is. Researchers first studied this little white lie in 2003.
A study showed that men were not actually having more partners than women as was presumed, but that women were lying about it more when they thought they wouldn't be caught, which of course, was to avoid coming off as being too promiscuous.
Ten years later, researchers have followed up on the previous study and have found, for the most part, the same results. In a study of 300 college students, students were asked to complete a questionnaire about 124 different behaviors they might engage in (which had been previously determined in another study to be “stereotypically” masculine or feminine).
Some students were even hooked up to what they believed to be was a working lie detector during the study. Whether or not it was believed by the students that their honesty was being tested, men and women involved in the study didn't seem to feel any pressure to conform to traditional gender stereotypes.
For instance, women were just as likely to report “masculine” habits, like lifting weights, whether or not they were attached to the lie detector. However, when it came to reporting sexual activity, both men and women seemed to feel pressure to conform to their stereotypes—men as womanizers and women as innocent ladies with few partners.
Interesting. I wonder what the results would be of a study conducted amongst adults a few years older than college students. My personal feeling is that in college, you're still considered to be fairly “young,” right? When you're older, you're more likely to admit to more because you're less likely to be judged, at least in my opinion.
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