Infographic: Periodic Table of Lies
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Infographic: Periodic Table of Lies

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We humans are ancient and sophisticated liars. We probably learned to lie just five seconds after learning to communicate. In fact, the first human utterance was probably a fib about the location of some great food or a mate’s poor choice of clothing. So, it’s no surprise that there are so many different types of lie. But, it may come as a shock to see that there are at least 72 different types, and counting. And, just like the periodic table of elements, it’s likely that we’ll discover or synthesize new forms of deceit on a regular basis. Our creativity knows no bounds when it comes to falsehoods.

Just like the periodic table of elements I’ve assigned a one or two character symbol to each lie. For instance, Fib is “F”, Hoax is “Hx”, Alternative Facts is “Af”. Also, I’ve attempted to classify each lie along several dimensions. These are: complexity of the lie, scale of potential consequences, and the typical target (or victim) of the lie.


A rolling list of updates to the Periodic Table

February 14, 2017. I made a key discovery with lie 72, the Meta Lie (symbol: Mt). It’s a rather heavy lie, but it does occur naturally. Though it tends to be found mostly in politicians since it involves lying about a previous lie.

January 30, 2017. Phew! This is my first version of the Periodic Table, and it contains a mere seventy-one types of lie. Yes, 71.