Thursday, August 9, 2012

Honesty Is Good For Your Health

I'll bet you thought this was another article about Dirty Liar Harry Reid. But you would be wrong. I needed some sunshine in my life, and just in time USA Today (Newsweek's prettier more successful cousin) came along with an article about how telling the truth is a life-extender.

Now you know why Republicans in Congress seem to outlive and out-think Democrats (certain notable exceptions to the contrary notwithstanding). But that wasn't in the study. Anita Kelly, a psychology professor at the University of Notre Dame did a ten week study on 110 individuals. They were ages eighteen to seventy-one. Each took a polygraph test which measured the number of major and minor lies they told that week. The lies were then correlated with health and relationship standards.

Says Dr. Kelly: "When they went up in their lies, their health went down. When their lies went down, their health improved." Half the study group was given specific instructions telling them that they could leave truths out, refuse to answer a question, and keep secrets. But they were also told they could not lie. The other half were simply given the questions without instructions.

Those in the "no lies" group did some lying anyway, but as they progressed, they told fewer. And there was a correlation between decreased fibs and increased health. When these participants told three fewer minor lies in one week than they did the week before, they experienced four fewer mental complaints and three fewer physical complaints (not heart attacks or anything like that, just feeling tense or blue or experiencing sore throats or headaches).

For the "say anything" participants, there was a direct correlation between the lies and the illnesses, and no improvement or decline in health over the course of the study. On the other hand, the "no lies" group made some of those mental calculations themselves, lied less and less, and felt better and better. Professor Linda Stroh at Loyola of Chicago said that she had gotten very similar results in a study on trust and trustworthiness, which included telling the truth along with the trust issues.

I'm not sure how much change in health can truly be measured in a ten week study, but both professors seem quite confident of their results. Of course my mom or my pastor could have told them the same thing, and it wouldn't have cost a dime. Amazingly, these and other studies show that Americans lie on average about eleven times a week. The bigger the lie, the greater the effect on health.

Now I don't know about you, but I never lie. Uh, wait a minute, I need to take a couple of aspirins, I'm getting a terrible headache. In any event, if you don't want to end up looking like a hunched-over, wrinkly, old man with a constricted voice that sounds like Liberace on valium, tell the truth whenever possible. Come to think of it, maybe this article was about Harry Reid after all.

38 comments:

Joel Farnham said...

LawHawk,

I can see it. Have you noticed how bad Obama is looking these days? He is losing weight again and it seems he needs that Grecian formula more and more each week.

LawHawkRFD said...

I have to go off-topic for a minute because of two things I spotted after this article was written.

First (pay attention, T-Rav), the Patriot Post headline for its e-mail edition today was "Romney is a Nazi and eats kittens."

Second, a federal judge in Hawaii has just upheld Hawaii's "traditional marriage amendment." This should be interesting. The Hawaii constitutional amendment was almost identical to California's Prop 8, which is now awaiting action at the US Supreme Court. A federal judge in California had found California's amendment unconstitutional, and his decision was upheld by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Both California and Hawaii are in the Ninth Circuit.

Like California, the Governor refused to defend the state's traditional marriage law. The Hawaii federal judge (unlike California's) held that the law should be upheld on adequate independent state grounds (i.e. that the state has the right to determine its own rules regarding marriage). This will throw a legal monkey wrench into the Supreme Court case, perhaps requiring a separate hearing.

LawHawkRFD said...

Joel: Presidents tend to age very rapidly. Usually it's because of the burden of preserving, protecting and defending the Constitution and keeping America safe from foreign enemies. Obama is aging unusually fast because he's spending all his time defending himself.

Barack Obama's Press Secretary said...

Nu Uh! that study is a lie! *Cough* *Cough*

Tell the teleprompter I want hazard pay

LawHawkRFD said...

Joel: And consistent with the theme of the article, I guess I should have included "lying" in Obama's presidential resume.

LawHawkRFD said...

BOPS: Drink a couple of bottles of full-strength Nyquil, and call me in the morning.

tryanmax said...

Hey, anybody remember THIS GOODIE from the Clinton years?

LawHawkRFD said...

tryanmax: Where is Royko when we need him? He was a street-fighter, and though he would never ally with the Republican Party or the conservative movement, his satire was often aimed at the crooked Cook County Democratic machine. His most famous book was Boss, which savaged Mayor Richard Daley, the single most powerful Democrat in America. Unfortunately, he was gone before he could write a book (or at least a lengthy article) about the younger Mayor Daley or the charming Rahm Emanuel.

Best (or at least most pertinent) quote from the article: "Some may remember a presidential hopeful named George Romney, who blurted out the truth one day and destroyed his political career."

BevfromNYC said...

I like "BOPS". That's how I will refer to Jay Carney from now on.

Clinton Old Press Secretary (COPS) said...

Define "lie", Attorney-man!

LawHawkRFD said...

Bev: It does fit, doesn't it?

LawHawkRFD said...

COPS: The Black's Law Dictionary defines lie as:
"Anything being said by a Democratic President if his lips are moving at the same time."

Joel Farnham said...

LawHawk,

Speaking of honesty and health, I think Obama went off teleprompter....again!

Now, he wants to extend the auto bailout to all industries.

Check out Drudge.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Excellent post, Lawhawk!

I think this dovetails nicely with other studies that show those who are charitable are generally more happy, as well as folks that are generally more thankful for what they have.

Of course, conventional wisdom has always said as much, but it's good to see science catching up. :^)

Generally speaking, we see the opposite: those who are bitter, envious, not thankful, don't give to charity much, if at all, and are dishonest are far more likely to experience negative consequences to their health and longevity as well as not being happy.

That, in part, explains why lefties tend to be more vile, I reckon.

rlaWTX said...

BOPS, I think the teleprompter is the one that needs hazard pay! See Joel's post if you need to know why...

LawHawkRFD said...

Joel: He's getting more desperate by the day. He'll use that ploy because he knows that many fence-sitters simply don't understand bailouts. They believe in "too big to fail," and they see the bailouts as benign use of federal taxpayer money. That will be one of the biggest educational projects for the Romney campaign between now and election day. He has to get across the point that bailouts are a waste of taxpayer money, give government and unions increased power, determine "outcomes" and still don't work in the long run. The trouble with bailouts is they sound reasonable when they are in reality all boondoggles.

LawHawkRFD said...

USSBen: Telling the truth is part of what we call family values and which the left mocks at every turn. And I agree that the lack of those values make people bitter, resentful and vile.

T-Rav said...

Hmmm. I've never heard what Liberace sounds like on valium, and I don't know how one would have the opportunity to do so. Something you want to share, LawHawk?

LawHawkRFD said...

rlaWTX: We must stop sympathizing with the TelePrompter. It all reminds me of an old Ikea ad. There is sad music playing in the background, the sky is cloudy, and in the center of the picture is a discarded lamp, once beautiful, beloved and a bringer of light. The ad lets you feel bad for the lamp which is designed to look like it's weeping (complete with voiceover narration of the tragedy). Then suddenly, you hear the lamp saying: "Wake up, you idiot. I'm an inanimate object. We don't have feelings." I laughed a long time at that.

T-Rav said...

Oh, don't be ridiculous! I don't support eating kittens, merely shooting them in the face. I may be mean, but I ain't a total monster.

Although now that you mention it, I did just see a story about a possible film adaptation of ALF, the anteater-looking puppet who considers cats a delicacy. Coincidence???*

*(Well, yes.)

Joel Farnham said...

LawHawk,

I can just see the commercial now.

A burning Volt in the background. A scorched driver in the foreground with a reporter. The reporter asks, "Are you happy with your new GM Volt?"

The driver starts to say something and collapses. The reporter says, "There you have it. A satisfied happy GM Volt customer. Back to you in the studio."

Back at the studio, the stunned announcer turns to his co-host, "Was that supposed to happen?"

Cut to GM Volt commercial. "GM couldn't have produced the Volt without the auto bailout."

Cut to Obama saying, "Let's repeat the auto bailout with every industry!"

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Isn't Liberace dead?

LawHawkRFD said...

T-Rav: Another careless hunter, killing game then not feeding himself and others from the kill. You are a twisted vegan.

ALF ate kittens? I didn't remember that. But I admit he looked like he might do just that.

rlaWTX said...

T-Rav, Have we ever seen Alf & Harry Reid in the same room at the same time??? Reid should prove he is NOT Alf!!!!

LawHawkRFD said...

T-Rav: Liberace was a big TV attraction when I was growing up. My mother insisted on watching his show no matter what else was on (you may find it hard to believe, but most households in those days had only one TV). So I saw a lot of him whether I wanted to or not.

After he left TV to become the flashiest Vegas star outside of Elvis Presley, it became rumor that Liberace was taking pills to drown his sorrows over a broken love affair with a young male assistant. I don't know if he was taking drugs or not, but he sounded very different in the interviews he would occasionally do for talk shows from the TV personality of years earlier.

LawHawkRFD said...

rlaWTX: And that he doesn't eat kittens.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Liberace was gay?

LawHawkRFD said...

Joel: Excellent. LOL And you will live longer because you told the truth.

LawHawkRFD said...

USSBen: He died years ago, but if you believe in spiritual possession, the Reid persona seems obvious. And after all, Reid does much of his dirty work in Vegas. LOL

LawHawkRFD said...

USSBen: Why are you asking me? Just because I'm from San Francisco, that doesn't make me the resident expert on who's gay. But as long as you asked . . . Elvis's outfits were almost as gay as Liberace's, though Liberace leaned toward furs while Elvis leaned toward silk, satin, and long capes. Both liked glittering sequins. LOL

LawHawkRFD said...

When I was maybe eight or nine, I would tell adults the following joke: Liberace's mom is upstairs and yells down to him "has the piano-tuner come yet?" Liberace yells back "no, but he's getting glassy-eyed." I would laugh hysterically while telling it, and had absolutely no idea why it was funny. I only knew that I had heard it somewhere, and it made adults laugh.

Patriot said...

LawHawk......it's like the joke when Nelson Rockefeller died in his mistress' arms.

"The first time in his life when Nelson was coming and going at the same time."

Took me a few minutes to get it. But then I was waised stwict Cathowic.

Patriot said...

(Bond reference)

StanH said...

“I cannot tell a lie, I did not chop down the cherry tree, I did not have sex with that woman, I am not a crook, If you like your policy you can keep it …” …and so on.

Disclaimer: I did not want to include George Washington, but it set up the rest. Also there is no historical record of GW saying that, it is a myth.

LawHawkRFD said...

Patriot: Kids can be awfully naive, can't they? BTW, I remember that Rockefeller joke, but I was an adult by then.

LawHawkRFD said...

Stan: Amen. The cherry tree story was a pure fabrication from Parson Weems, more a book-seller than researcher or historian. But even at that, along with the Honest Abe legend, our forebears valued truth a great deal more than the present generation. There was no such thing as "your truth and my truth," there was just objective truth.

Barack Obama said...

If you like your cherry tree, you can keep your cherry tree.

LawHawkRFD said...

Barack: Thanks for sharing.

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