London: Men are twice as likely as women to consider themselves to be good at lying and at getting away with it, according to a study which also found that they prefer to lie face-to-face, rather than via texts.
The researchers from the University of Portsmouth in the UK noted that people who excel at lying are good talkers and tell more lies than others, usually to family, friends, romantic partners and colleagues.
Expert liars also prefer to lie face-to-face, rather than via text messages, and social media was the least likely place where they would tell a lie, they said.
"We found a significant link between expertise at lying and gender. Men were more than twice as likely to consider themselves expert liars who got away with it," said Brianna Verigin, who works at Portsmouth, and the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands.
"Previous research has shown that most people tell one-two lies per day, but that's not accurate, most people don't lie everyday but a small number of prolific liars are responsible for the majority of lies reported," Verigin said.
The study, published in the journal PLOS ONE, found that nearly half (40 per cent) of all lies are told by a very small number of deceivers, and these people will lie with impunity to those closest to them.
Verigin quizzed 194 people, half men and half women, with an average age of 39.
They were asked a series of questions including how good they were at deceiving others, and how many lies they had told in the past 24 hours.
The study found one of the key strategies of liars is to tell plausible lies that stay close to the truth, and to not give away much information.
The better someone thinks they are at lying, the more lies they will tell, the researchers said.
The most commonly used strategy among all those who admitted to lying, whether experts or poor liars, was to leave out certain information, they said.
However, expert liars added to that an ability to weave a believable story embellished with truth, making the lies harder to spot, according to the researchers.
Those who thought they were not good at lying resorted, when they did lie, to being vague, they said.
Of the 194 people, the most common types of deception, in descending order, were 'white lies', exaggerations, hiding information, burying lies in a torrent of truth and making up things.
Most people chose to lie face-to-face, then via text message, a phone call, email, and via social media, the researchers said.
Most expert liars lie most often to family, friends or colleagues. Employers and authority figures were least likely to be lied to, they said.
The study showed no link between level of education and lying ability.