Liar Activity Debrief Questions

1.  Which cards did your group find easiest to place? Which did you find most difficult?

My group and I found that the easiest cards to place were the deceptions with the most consequences or were the most morally wrong or unethical. For example, our worst deception, when organized from worst to best, was “lying under oath.” Similarly, the hardest to place were the deceptions that were simply polite like “is that the time?” or “would you like to come up for a coffee?” If these deceptions weren’t said, the person saying them would seem blunt and rude. These small lies keep people from feeling strange while remaining polite.

2.  How similar or different was your order from that of other groups? Were there any surprises?

Overall, I would say everyone had pretty similar arrangements in their deceptions. We all put the worst lies with the greatest side affects on the negative side and “polite lies” on the more acceptable side. Because every order was, for the most part, the same, there were no surprises.

3.  Were there any cases where you’d need more information about the context before placing it?

Yes, there were a few deceptions that would have been more clear if they were given in context. For example, “lying under oath”. Who’s the one lying? Is it the defendant? A witness? The judge? With a little bit of clarification, we could have better analyzed where it that deception should have been placed. But, I feel that my group and I made the right choice with the information that we were given. The lie regarding “telling kids about Santa Claus” could have also been made more clear. The way it was said, we weren’t sure if it was telling kids he was real in the first place or if it was telling him he wasn’t real after they began to believe in him. One more card that was a little bit confusing was the one that simply said “artificial flavoring”. The way I took that is that you have eaten a food with artificial flavoring in it, unlike some of my classmates who took it as putting artificial flavoring in their cooked food.

4.  How many of these deceptions have you participated in?

Of these 40 deceptions, I have partaken in about 25. But, this is a rough number because if I was on the fence about whether or not I had told this lie, I counted it as being done. For example, I counted “artificial flavoring” regardless of what it actually means.

5.  How widespread do you think deception is in the population at large?

Overall, in our community, I would say that deception is a huge factor of life. People live lies their whole lives. For example, make-up could be considered a deception because it is altering someone’s face. It depends what deceptions you are counting because if you count some of the lies that were printed on those cards, then there are probably more deceptions than truths in the real world. Policemen must “dress as gangsters to infiltrate a gang” for their job and to protect innocent people. But, this is technically a deception. In the end, everyone tells at least one lie that can spread faster than the plague. It’s these lies that make up our community, that we are surrounded by everyday.

6.  How do you define a “lie” – which of these cards would you consider “not a lie” and why?

I define a lie as a statement that someone knows isn’t true. But, this (at least) one person must have proof that what they are saying is in fact the truth. With knowledge of the truth, the opposing statement therefore becomes a lie. This definition, like everything, has some exceptions. For example, what I described above, deceptions that are necessary for protection (like the policemen) or are simply polite should not be considered “lies”.

7.  Under what circumstances, if any, is it acceptable to mislead or deceive other people? Should we tell the truth at any cost, or are other things, such as happiness, more important?

I think that deceptions are only acceptable if they cause happiness for another individual without causes harm to another. For example, the card about telling your friend their hair looks nice will not hurt anyone and will make your friend feel better about themselves. If a deception has even the potential to harm someone or a group of people, they should not be told are not morally right.


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