Forgive me if this post is less than eloquent, I wrote it in the time it took to cook my microwave dinner. But hopefully you'll find it interesting.
I was trying to fall asleep late one night, and as I often do, I turned the radio on to my local NPR station. The show I encountered actually ended up keeping me awake because I found it so interesting.
It was all about liars. They studied people who they thought would be compulsive liars, they actually decided that temp agencies would be the place they would go to find these people figuring these people would turn up there at some point. Probably not having been able to keep their lies right and having gotten fired I guess.
So they found a handful of people who answered the questions in a way that suggested compulsive liar. Then they got these people to submit to a brain scan to see what was wrong with their brain. Often people with other ...disorders, have some malady in their brain that shows.
What they found was quite a bit different than they expected. They didn't have a malady, but they actually had more connections, more "white stuff". They were able to think on their feet better, come up with stories more easily.
That was pretty interesting, as was the story of the con woman, but what I found most interesting was the piece on people who lie to themselves. They looked at people who are able to weave a little veil in front of whatever is going on so they don't have to acknowledge it. Like the person who ignores the sign of a cheating spouse.
But the interesting part was that they found that people who lie to themselves more are happier people. It works as a buffer, its an inoculation against reality and depression. So it should not be surprising that people who are more realistic are also more often depressed. They see the things they've done, things not working out, the pain and suffering in the world...and it makes them sad. Delusion is a gift of sorts.
I was telling this tid bit to a friend of mine and she said she had heard something similar, but that it was regarding specific unnamed political parties. The one party was more depressed than the other and it was explained that the happier political party was happier because they failed to see injustice as injustice...and I guess their responsibility to fight injustice? I didn't really have the gumption to read this entire article, I don't even know if it was the one my friend read, but it was interesting all the same.
But if you're going to waste your time clicking on the link, click the Radio Lab link instead, you'll probably enjoy it more. Its about as good as This American Life!