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Stubs about practical solutions

Author: Dr Simon Moss


Sometimes, individuals must decide whether or not someone is lying. For example, managers might need to decide whether an employee lied when asserting "I did not steal the stationary".

Step 1. To decipher whether or not someone is lying, individuals should vividly imagine a past event in which they felt upset and sad (Forgas & East, 2008). Individuals who feel sad, rather than happy, can more accurately determine whether or not someone is lying. In particular, sad individuals are more likely to assert someone is lying when indeed this person is lying- but no more likely to someone is lying when this person is not lying. When individuals feel sad, they become more inclined to perceive some object or person unfavourably rather than favourably. That is, their own feelings often contaminate their perceptions of other individuals or events. Hence, they are more inclined to assert someone is lying when indeed this person is lying. In addition, when sad, individuals are also more like to consider an object or person carefully and systematically, which in turn might uncover contradictions or inconsistencies.


Forgas, J. P., & East, R. (2008). On being happy and gullible: Mood effects on scepticism and the detection of deception. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 44, 1362-1367.


Step 1. Sometimes, individuals feel overwhelmed by a difficult task. They might feel the report they need to write is too long and complex or the boxes they need to move are too heavy. In these instances, they should contact, if possible, someone they regard as very supportive and understanding. Alternatively, even thinking about some of the advice or assurances this person has offered in the past is sufficient to increase their confidence.

Most tasks, such as traversing a steep hill, seem easier after individuals imagine or interact with a supportive, loyal, and understanding friend (Schnall, Harber, Stefanucci, & Proffitt, 2008). That is, the extent to which a task seems difficult, such as the slant of a hill, depends on whether individuals can utilize resources to facilitate their performance. For example, if individuals can access resources, such as excellent equipment or supportive colleagues, they feel the task is more plausible. Their perception of the task, such as the angle of a hill, changes in response to this confidence.

Schnall, S., Harber, K. D., Stefanucci, J. K., & Proffitt, D. R. (2008). Social support and the perception of geographical slant. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 44, 1246-1255.

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Last Update: 5/30/2016