Why are people so easily misled?

Truthful Deception: Misleading is as bad as lying

Always tell the truth and still mislead the audience - a technique that many people use to avoid unpleasant questions. But nobody can be fooled by this, as a research group led by Todd Rogers from Harvard University has now found out in a series of psychological experiments. Accordingly, the other person regards this behavior as just as dishonest as a direct lie, especially if one circumvents a direct answer in this way. According to the team, this behavior even exacerbates conflicts, because if one side claims to have only told the truth, the other side feels even more lied to.

In addition to the direct lie and the untruth through omission, misleading with the help of statements that are completely correct in terms of content is a third form of deception that, according to the researchers, has so far been little studied. We encounter her almost every day: in negotiation situations, in political talk shows and in partnerships. In one of the experiments by Rogers and his team, a questionnaire about negotiation scenarios in 500 test subjects showed a clear preference for this form of deception - the perpetrators presumably see this as a more honest variant. However, another experiment, this time a concrete negotiation situation with potential money gains, made it clear that it made no difference at all to the other side which form of deception was used: They felt ripped off.