Everyone lies. It's simply a fact of life. From the white lies that you tell your friends, to extravagant schemes used by conmen, lies are everywhere. But, why? What do we gain by lying?
Lying may be looked down upon by polite society, but it is actually a sign of intelligence. It takes a high cognitive ability to craft a believable lie, and it requires intelligence to remember to keep the lie alive.
And yet, lying is not socially acceptable. So, why?
Well, we have a lot to gain from lies. Teenagers lie about their whereabouts and actions to their parents in order to avoid punishment. Children accuse each other of stealing the last cookie in order to avoid getting spanked. Little white lies are told every day, lies like "you look great in that." People lie in order to get out of social obligations. Most importantly, people lie in order to make themselves look better. We lie about our accomplishments, about our beliefs and about who we are to make ourselves appear superior.
There are also lies that are socially acceptable. It is acceptable to lie to small children about the existence of Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy. It is acceptable to lie to someone about what you think about their shoes or haircut.
We lie for the numerous benefits. After all, lying is natural.