Most people value honesty. They want to tell the truth. They also value kindness. Sometimes, though, honesty and kindness collide. That happens when telling the truth would be hurtful, but being kind involves telling a lie. How do people negotiate this clash of noble intentions?
All Things Single (and More)
Unconventional wisdom about single life, friendship,
and the science of deception
Way too many people think that married people live longer. They think it is a fact. It is not. I have been debunking this for years, starting with Singled Out. Every time a new study comes out that is relevant to the myth of the long-living married people, I take a close look to see what it really says.
Claims that if only you get married, you will get happier, are ubiquitous. They are also wrong. There are embarrassing methodological flaws that sully many of the studies used as the basis for those claims. Some of the flaws are so fundamental, that any social scientist who does not recognize them should be run out of the field.
Over the course of many years writing about single life, I have found that readers are very interested in the experiences of single people in places beyond the U.S. So am I, but I don’t know nearly as much as I would like to. I have had some help with that from guest bloggers. Also, when relevant articles appear in the news, I blog about them.
When I wrote Singled Out, I was just beginning to learn about singles in the military. Since then, I have learned more about the topic, and now, most recently, about singles in the Foreign Service, thanks mostly to people who have written guest posts. There has also been some research about how singles fare in their post-military days.
Because of the prominent mention of people who are single-at-heart in the New York Times, I have been getting more inquiries than usual about what it means to be single-at-heart. Research on the concept is just beginning. Below are links to what I have written so far, and what I have learned from the first 1,200 people who took the single-at-heart survey.
In Singled Out, I devoted a chapter to debunking the myth that the children of single parents are doomed. I described various studies and showed how the results are exaggerated or misrepresented. I also reviewed studies inconsistent with the doom-and-gloom narrative; they, unfortunately, get little media attention.
New studies have been published since then, so I have continued to address the topic. There is also lots of panic around single parenting and some overwrought media stories and political proclamations. I’ve critiqued those, too.
Once upon a time, my primary professional interest was in the psychology of deceiving and detecting deceit. I wrote about that in “My previous life as a deception researcher.” Now my passion is the study (and practice!) of single life. But I continue to get questions about deception. So I have compiled here many of my blog posts about lying and detecting lies. If you are interested in my books about deception, you can find summaries and links here.
In 2005, Wendy Morris and I were invited to write the target article, “Singles in society and in science,” for the journal Psychological Inquiry. This was my very first publication about singles. Ten commentaries were written by scholars in a variety of disciplines, and Wendy and I responded to those commentaries.This double-issue of the journal was the result.