Paltering: lying by using the truth

There are three types of lies: omission, where someone holds out on the facts; commission, where someone states facts that are untrue; and paltering, where someone uses true facts to mislead you. It’s not always easy to detect, but there are a few telltale signs.

A recent study, published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, suggests the practice of paltering is pretty common, especially among business executives. Not only that, but the people who do it don’t seem to think they’re doing anything wrong—despite the fact that most people feel like it’s just as unethical and untrustworthy as intentional lies of commission. It’s not just execs who do it, though. If you’ve ever tried to buy a used car from a slimy salesman, been in a salary negotiation with a tough as nails boss, or watched basically any presidential debate, you’ve definitely seen paltering in action.


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