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Poch Peralta

Freelance Writer / Blogger,

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Are Artists Better Liars?

Remember that actors are actually lying when they perform
'In the February 18, 2014 issue of Psychological Science, Harvard Business School professor Francesca Gino and University of Southern California business school professor Scott S. Wiltermuth published their article titled “Evil Genius? How Dishonesty Can Lead to Greater Creativity.” You can click on the link to read the full details of their experiments, but they basically tested how people put in situations involving deceit or rule breaking were then able to perform creative tasks. “We propose that dishonest and creative behavior have something in common: They both involve breaking rules,” Gino and Wiltermuth write. “Because of this shared feature, creativity may lead to dishonesty (as shown in prior work), and dishonesty may lead to creativity (the hypothesis we tested in this research).” They performed five experiments to analyze the issue from every angle...'
http://bigthink.com/Picture-This/do-liars-make-better-artists

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    Mar 4 2014: No Poch, I do not believe artists are better liars, and actors are NOT "lying" when they perform. Actors are creating a "scene" for entertainment purposes.

    Your introduction states...."...people put in situations involving deceit or rule breaking were then able to perform creative tasks. “We propose that dishonest and creative behavior have something in common".

    The thing that may be "in common" is creativity. People involved in criminal behaviors are very creative....those who are dishonest are very creative, and of course, artists, including performing artists are very creative.

    One reason I often say that those who have led a life of crime can change, is that I recognize their creativity, and if/when that creativity can be used differently, there is a possibility for them to be contributing, productive members of our society.

    It is not at all accurate, and is quite an unreasonable stretch to say that all creative people are dishonest. Creativity simply opens the mind and heart to possibilities, and one can choose how to use creativity. One who chooses to be dishonest, will use his/her creativity in that way. One who chooses to be honest, will use his/her creative in that way.
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      Mar 6 2014: '.....actors are NOT "lying" when they perform. Actors are creating a "scene" for entertainment purposes.'
      I would add that the idea you expressed is only recent. Acting was looked down upon for centuries and the remnants of that view is still existent in language. 'Acting up', 'play-acting', 'drama', 'drama-queen' are expressions that imply that acting was seen synonymous as lying, cheating or bamboozling.
      Sumana laughs if I call her 'drama-queen' and says, 'I am honored, that's my profession.'
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        Mar 6 2014: Good point Pabitra.....actors have not always had the best reputations, and in times gone by, it was thought to be on the bottom of the ladder as far as professions were concerned. We still have some "bad actors" and "drama queens" around, and they are not necessarily "lying".....they are playing out their own personas, characteristics, and archetypes.

        I believe people are people regardless of the profession they choose, and to target artists, especially performing artists, with a suggestion that they are always lying, is unrealistic, and in my perception, an effort to create "drama". Good for Sumana!
  • Mar 1 2014: When common people generalize things then everyone screams and shouts and when scientists generalize things based on their sample theories then everyone applauds them.

    Creativity has nothing to do with Lying. Thats a different issue that liars may use creativity to lie, but even so their lies often gets revealed.

    The problem with scientists is that they often see things in bits and pieces in a isolated way.

    Creative people work hard to create the work, and then someone steals their work and claims as himself created it. Now question is who is the liar the person who is creative or the person who is not creative but has stolen the work of the creative person.
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      Mar 1 2014: I'm an an artist of many kinds myself but firstly a graphic artist. I lie some times but I do it for the good of others.
      And of course the art thief or plagiarist is the liar and not the creator.
      • Mar 2 2014: Lord Krishna has said in the epic of Mahabharata that the lie which benefits one and all is not the lie at all.

        Is it right to club everything under the umbrella of Lies ? If creativity is all about dishonesty and lying then that way everything would become lies.

        If we go by the theory of the scientist or professor posted by you on the conversation, if his own theory be applied to him and his theory then he and his own theory becomes a lie.

        1.Creativity is all about lying.

        2.The scientist and professor who that propounded the theory is also a creative person,without creativity research and analysis is not possible.

        3.The scientist and the professor is the liar according to the points 1 and points 2, not only that his theory is the product of lie so his theory is also a lie.

        And if we apply the same to the nature , which the higher intelligence as well as the highest creative entity which has created all the living and non living beings.Then according to the theory Nature is the biggest liar off all, and all the things created by nature are the lies. So, ultimately we human beings are nothing but a lie in itself .

        If we human beings are a lie in itself then, isn't so that the theory propounded by the liars is itself a lie.

        If we go by that way then everything becomes lie. You are also a lie and I am also a Lie and one Lie is doing conversation with another lie, and conversation itself is a lie.


        There is a fine line which differentiates the dishonesty and lie. And also breaking the rules does not means dishonesty or lying.

        If we go that way, the setting a goal is also a lie,planning for the future is also a lie, that way everything and every action becomes a lie itself.

        -------

        Mother uses the knife in the kitchen to chop vegetables.

        Doctor uses the knife to do surgery on the patient to save his life.

        Criminal uses the knife to kill a person and end his life.

        Does that means that one who uses the knife is criminal ?
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          Mar 2 2014: Great analysis! First off, I apologize for missing that my reference claimed 'Creativity is all about lying.' I strongly don't agree and refute that!
        • Mar 28 2014: I like how you refer to Lord Krishna in your opening statement. GOD our source of life is the main source of knowledges. I notice you spoke after rendering him the wiser. I also notice that you spoke wisely.

          Hopefully I can elaborate as well.

          " ... If we apply the same to the nature , which the higher intelligence as well as the highest creative entity which has created all the living and non living beings.Then according to the theory Nature is the biggest liar off all, and all the things created by nature are the lies. So, ultimately we human beings are nothing but a lie in itself ... " :-):-)

          God is the master illusionist. He created all things. He can Manipulate all things to his desire. So yes what we see as reality is SUBJECTIVE or "a lie". What you know and what I know are not the same. So I am always in a state of deceit to your knowledge. GOD has not revealed all things to all people but some to some and some to others. God however is not lying to us. He has created the illusion of life to fit his master plan.

          Now with that said. We are made in GODs image. So yes actors are liars/manipulators. We define words several ways and use them interchangeably. Painters manipulate paint (which is not a picture) into a realistic piece of art deceiving us into believing we see color and form. They have lied/manipulated.

          The original question is I think referring to malicious lying. Lying/manipulating/deceiving with the intent to effect negatively.

          Any individual has the capability of manipulating life with malicious intent. The factors driving one to do so are not in my opinion related to creativity nor intelligence.
      • Mar 2 2014: I do not agree with the theory completely.
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      Mar 1 2014: Great comment, :-) :-)

      One great thing about when others steal someone's truly innovative work - the thief cannot really comprehend the idea and reproduce the real original "automatically".

      I've never worried when (often) people use my ideas as if these are their own - they catch and repeat the words but twist the meaning.

      Interesting case - once I met an artist who was fantastically skillful in reproducing precious antique paintings - he was looking at my originals for a long time, then told me sadly, that he would Not be able to copy any of my originals because he does Not understand the subtle technic and texture, the style and "nature" of these originals. The also said, my paintings make him too emotional... No matter how much people flattered me regarding my art since, I've never felt as much flattered as I was when that ingenious artist/ imitator told me how helplessly he felt regarding reproducing my paintings.

      Well, when I reproduce my originals by printing copies I know well - it is a process of creating some no good imitation - "a lie".
      • Mar 2 2014: Printing copies from the originals is not a lie. It is replication. It becomes a lie only when some else sells your counterfeit art and says that it has been created by Vera Nova. And the buyer believes him and buys that art.Later on when he comes to know that he has bought a counterfeit art and feels cheated , then it is called dishonesty of the seller and lie of the seller.

        Everything cannot be clubbed under the umbrella of Lies.

        This is somewhat like feminists who want to club every activity under the umbrella of rape.
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          Mar 2 2014: Great talking to you :-) :-)

          CREATIVITY is a made-up human term - people use it, and often badly obuse it and its meaning (they use it "creatively").

          For me Creativity means LIFE because if I follow patterns I painfully feel that I become blind and deaf.

          I trust that We all must be creative to different degrees, just for the sake of survival, while at home, on a road, at work etc., we have to adjust and get along with unstoppable Change of the mighty world.

          Many of us just try to mimic one another - this is also helpful to many. It's our instinctive talent.

          In my old art brochure I wrote about my thought on our "two basic inborn talents" -

          One is about IMITATION. It is about mimicking others. Since we are young babies we begin to instinctively imitate everything we see or hear, begin to speak and move just like our parents...

          The other talent is CREATIVITY. When we have to come up with our own way to manage with our tasks or circumstances. We might find new combinations of some well known patterns as well and witness a surprising result. This talent can be as tiny as a "bird's nest"
          but it can become as endless as the universe.

          Everyone has Both talents but in different combinations and proportions.

          (Sorry I've made some typos in my comment above - just somehow fixed them)
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        Mar 2 2014: '...when I reproduce my originals by printing copies I know well - it is a process of creating some no good imitation - "a lie".'
        That 'lying' is one that's not really unethical. I understand cause I do that myself :-)
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    Feb 28 2014: Yes. They CAN be. But being an artist, or other creative person doesn't necessarily mean that they ARE liars. Nor does being NOT creative save you from the sin of lying. Increased creativity only denotes increased faculty or ability to lie. Like being a tall person doesn't make you good at basketball, although it would make it much easier.
  • Mar 6 2014: Ronald Reagan was called the great communicator. Because he was a politician, I assume he lied many times. How much he lied, I will leave to historians that will study the facts, papers without hopefully prejudice. Ronald Reagan started off as an actor which helped him "lie".
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      Mar 6 2014: The 'Great Communicator'---very apt example of a great liar Wayne!

      'Ronald Reagan started off as an actor which helped him "lie".'
      Brilliant illustration and notion again!
  • Mar 6 2014: Artists give life to alternative worlds of perception. Within these alternate worlds, fundamental definitions may be changed. Though they may understand your perspective, as the proponent of their own art, they may in all honesty express a different truth. If you become fluent in perceiving alternate worlds, it may be easier to suppose an alternate exists for almost any view, and thus you can comfortably say almost anything, trusting that it must be true from some perspective.
    Most people who lie, do so by convincing themselves its true, then saying it. So, yes artists and very stubornly closed-minded people would but more capable of lying and the artist would probably do a better job of it.
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      Mar 6 2014: Excellent theory and explanation Bradley and I agree.
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    Mar 6 2014: A lie is a false statement to a person or group made by another person or group who knows it is not the whole truth, intentionally.

    An actor is a person who assums an identy to entertain.

    I go to a theater knowing that the person on stage is not "Romeo" but someone who is playing the role.

    If I go to a bank and someone pretends to be a banker takes my money he has lied to me and stolen my money. This is not entertainment .... this is crime. I went to the bank in good faith believing I would find a banker not a thief.

    If this assumption that artists are better liars then that lets politicians and used car salesmen off the hook as the annual least trusted people. The lier of the year is a politician not a actor.

    I think this to be a generalization such as "Redheads love to fight" and "blonds have more fun".

    The only one that holds true is that men in their 70s named Bob are better looking and nicer people. That is a fact.

    Thats my story and I am sticking to it.

    See ya Poch ... I wish you well. Bob.
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      Mar 6 2014: 'If this assumption that artists are better liars then that lets politicians and used car salesmen off the hook as the annual least trusted people. The liar of the year is a politician not a actor.'
      I strongly agree!

      LOL Now I see your funny side. Great!
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        Mar 6 2014: Hay Hay the men in their 70s named Bob are the best looking and nicest is a fact.

        That was the most important part of the reply .... at least to me.

        Thanks for the reply. Bob.
  • Mar 1 2014: The two-pronged difference between lying and teaching is that the message transmitted by lying happens to be false and the transmitter knows it. If, as some claim, art's primary function is didactic, then art is inherently tied to lying.
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      Mar 2 2014: Typical sharp insight again from you Bryan.
      And imagine how vast the number of those who believed lies and keeps spreading them because they don't know they were lies!

      I don't believe that art is inherently tied to lying but my answer to the main question is yes.
    • Mar 2 2014: Art is not just painting and drawing . And Creativity is not just Painting and Drawing . Scientists are also creative people, So they are also liars according to the theory posted on the conversation.
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        Mar 2 2014: Ahh...yes. I see your point now.
      • Mar 3 2014: I never stated that art was limited to painting and drawing.
  • Mar 18 2014: Yes and no because art is a gray area that does something false to show facts and in art I do believe is very much based on deception but also has a lot of creativity
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      Mar 18 2014: I think it's yes and no because:
      Yes---there is deception in art and
      No---most natural artists are very moral. Thanks for your idea Eugene.
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    Mar 6 2014: Can We Learn to See How Artists See?
    IMHO, I think we can. I'm a realist, multi-artist myself. We artists are trained to be critical when looking at visual creations and we only do that when we are on a job or want to work on the creation we see. Only photographers are artists that see differently when they are ALWAYS on the lookout for the right ingredients of a photo shoot

    'The concept for SEE is deceptively simple—two people in a car crossing America with a camera and a dog in search of beauty and how one can become fully open to embracing that beauty. Their trip and the film itself could easily have detoured into indulgence—two beautiful, talented people so clearly deeply in love that you might envy them to the point of hatred—but they steer clear of such potholes and never lose their sense of invitation, a beckoning to become an artist of seeing and living in the beauty we see...'
    http://bigthink.com/Picture-This/can-we-learn-to-see-how-artists-see
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      Mar 6 2014: Right ! and I would add that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
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        Mar 6 2014: Good point Helen.....beauty is in the eye of the beholder.....everything is in the eye of the beholder....is it not?
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          Mar 6 2014: Oh, you are absolutely right. If only people would recognize that...I believe the world would be more peaceful.
        • Mar 28 2014: We as HUMAN INDIVIDUALS posses both INDIVIDUAL PHYSICAL POWER and INDIVIDUAL SENTIENT/KNOWLEDGE POWER. Both are necessary for us to be ALIVE. Our lives are subjective to us, individually given to us by GOD.
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        Mar 6 2014: That was an apt quote ma'am. Thanks.
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          Mar 6 2014: You are welcome. It is always a pleasure to talk to you.
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    Mar 3 2014: Lie: untruth, falsehood, fib, propaganda, deceit, fabrication, fiction, treachery, trickery, sham, cheating, guile, fraud, duplicity, pretense, dishonesty, fake, bogus, ...

    Liars are those who practice or commit the above. Aren't we all, then? Some of the worst liars I've met don't even have art in their vocabulary.

    I'd like to think though that the practice of Arts is a noble, or at least, respectable profession. Fine artists, musicians and composers, writers, poets, novelists, actors, master craftsmen ... I don't want to call the good ones liars.
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      Mar 4 2014: 'I'd like to think though that the practice of Arts is a noble, or at least, respectable profession. Fine artists, musicians and composers, writers, poets, novelists, actors, master craftsmen ... I don't want to call the good ones liars.'
      I agree Rodrigo. That is what I meant when artists, particularly actors, are not lying immorally.
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    Mar 3 2014: Just to make my message clearer:
    When I say actors are 'lying', I don't mean they're lying immorally. I say that because when actors play a role, what they say and do do not come from their own mind. That way, they are 'lying'. Get the point now?
  • Mar 1 2014: One question If acting and lying are same then what is the difference between them.

    If cow gives milk , then according to the above principle . Cow is nothing but milk.Milk is cow.
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      Mar 1 2014: Acting is acting out lies instead of speaking it out. More precisely, acting and speaking at the same time.
      • Mar 2 2014: Acting is playing the role of a character it is not lying.The viewers who watch the actor doing the acting know that it is the actor who is playing the role of the character.It becomes lying when a movie maker casts a duplicate of a famous actor and makes the viewers believe that the original actor is acting in the movie.
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          Mar 2 2014: Whenever someone plays a role, he/she says something that's not really coming from him/herself. That's 'lying' although I'm not saying it's immoral that way.
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        Mar 6 2014: Poch,
        As a professional actor for several years during my life experience, I can tell you that a good actor is not "lying", as you seem to want to insist.

        A good actor connects with something in him/herself, which helps create the role that s/he is playing. For example, when I played the role of a woman who lost her son, I tried my best to connect with how I might actually feel if my son died. It was very emotional to connect with that thought/feeling, and that is how a good actor plays a role in a way that it seems real. It has been mentioned at least a couple times in this conversation, and yet, you continue to say that an actor is "lying". Why do you need to do that Poch?
    • Mar 3 2014: Way too easy: The actor openly lets us know "I am going to lie to you." If the lie is particularly convincing, we consider the actor to be talented.
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        Mar 3 2014: Now I wonder what the psychological effect of always 'lying' is on actors. Does it hone them to really actually become better liars?
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          Mar 4 2014: Actors are not "always lying" Poch. They are creating a scene for entertainment purposes, and it is clear to the actor and the audience what the purpose is for their creativity.....entertainment.
        • Mar 4 2014: I essentially agree with Colleen. The moral difference between fiction and fraud is that the fictionalist tells everyone in the world "I am going to say a false thing." while the fraudster tells everyone "What I am saying is true." They are lying in the sense of intentionally telling falsehoods, but they re doing so openly and honestly, thus incurring no moral burden. The skills of great acting are the skills of great lying, but the way it is done differs.
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        Mar 6 2014: Good point Bryan....it is INTENTION that makes the difference.

        You say..."the skills of great acting are the skills of great lying, but the way it is done differs"

        That is why I think the common thread is creativity. Those with good and honest intension are creative, just as those with dishonest intention are creative.
  • Mar 1 2014: One comment on this is that dishonest people are probably more skeptical of the assumptions and unsupported arguments made by other people. This requires they form opinions on their own, even if used as a basis for a deception.

    I think the type of creativity being discussed here is the creativity associated with acting, not necessarily creativity in general. It makes sense to me that people constantly applying the skill (such as actors) would be more adept at it.
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      Mar 1 2014: Yes Robert. I agree that dishonest people are often malicious about the opinions of others---which actually and ironically makes them sharper.

      I only cited acting for example and it's not the only type for discussion.

      'It makes sense to me that people constantly applying the skill (such as actors) would be more adept at it.'
      I think so too sir.
      • Mar 3 2014: The trait can also cause them problems when they are confronted with someone who has no malicious intent. I have seen loved ones with that problem. They are, themselves, paragons of hypocrisy--most proper on the outside, but rules actually only apply when someone is watching or to other people. They automatically presume that everyone is working an angle or any unfortunate act is done with intentional malice.
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          Mar 17 2014: If there are artists who are paragons of hypocrisy, they are the pop singers---the greatest lying artists. They sing songs about their loved as if they were gods who just died and the songs sound like funeral songs! When were love songs supposed to be sad!? I don't even know any 'God' who asked for sad hymns. Even the God of David mocked his sad psalms.
  • Mar 1 2014: Yes could be. The fact that artists are more aware of their own emotional world can make them better at guessing or predicting the thoughts going through another's mind. This will aid them at telling lies that others believe.
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      Mar 1 2014: Excellent argument Sumukh.
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      Mar 1 2014: Sumukh, Those are NOT original artists but salespeople who have some artistic skills - they are the majority "creating" the art "industries" today.

      A truly intuitive artist is not pleasing anyone! and would not let him/herself any slightest dishonesty in his/her work - because any dishonesty - HURTS AS HELL !!
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        Mar 2 2014: 'A truly intuitive artist is not pleasing anyone!'
        Well said Vi! The primary motive of a truly intuitive artist is to express him/herself. Anything else is secondary.