telling lies

Who's better at lying - boys or girls?

Two girls at this year’s Young Scientist Exhibition have an answer to a question that’s preoccupied teenagers for generations.

STUDENTS AT THIS year’s BT Young Scientist Exhibition are looking into all sorts of things this year – from how to provide air conditioning for bees, to the best way to keep cattle sheds clean (both of these are real).

Some of the participants are tackling issues more likely to preoccupy secondary school students, however: for instance, who’s better at lying – boys or girls?

Linda Toomey and Megan Byrne spoke to a psychologist as part of their research before setting out to seek an answer to their question: ‘Is the potential for dishonesty affected or determined by one’s gender?’.

Their testing methods included a lengthy questionnaire, backed up by a lie detector test (with a twist).

The girls – from St Wolstan’s in Kildare – explain all, in the clip below:

Video / YouTube

Says Megan:

Our main method for finding our results was our survey. It had more than 40 questions – I think around 46.

The psychologist explained to the girls that they’d arrive at more accurate results if they asked questions over a range of categories.

“So that’s, like, interpersonal with friends, family and strangers – as well as achievements, because boys might be more likely to lie about achievements.

Once we got those results we got around 20% of our survey sample to complete a lie detector test, and that just confirmed our results for us.

girls demonstrating the lie detector

The girls also employed an old-fashioned steady hand buzzer game to underpin the results of their lie detector, as a kind of ‘triple lock’ on their results.

Linda explains:

We did four rounds with the lie detector. For two rounds, the participant would do the buzzer game because it would take their concentration off the lying. So it’s harder to deceive the lie detector when you’re not concentrating.


The results? Says Megan:

“We found men lie 3% more often than women, and they were also better at lying.

We were right in our thinking that women would lie more on emotional grounds and men would lie more to make themselves to seem superior – so about sporting achievements and things.

Scientific proof at last that males are better liars than females…

Then again, the girls’ results only cover 12- to 18-year-olds – so let’s settle this once and for all, for the grown-ups: 

Poll Results:

Women are better liars. (4777)
Men are better liars. (2309)
I can't even be trusted to fill out online surveys truthfully. (1548)

(Video by Michael Sheils McNamee)

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