Planning to fib to your boss about why you were late today? You might consider waiting until you have to pee.
According to a (weird) recent study, people with full bladders seem to be better liars than those who are more, um, relaxed.
Researchers at California State University had 22 student volunteers fill out questionnaires regarding their stances on certain moral and social issues. Then, they divided the group into two, with one half of the volunteers being asked to drink a whopping 700mL of water and the other a measly 50mL—a task that they were told was completely unrelated to the study. Forty-five minutes later, participants were asked to lie about their previously stated beliefs. In the end, the group who drank more water were judged to be more convincing by third-party observers.
Why? Those who drank more displayed significantly fewer “behavioral cues to deception,” things like extra fidgeting, vocalized pauses, and lots of blinking.
Th researchers think that a full tank may lead to more focus because bladder control and other forms of impulse control might be controlled by the same areas in your brain. “They’re subjectively different but in the brain they’re not,” lead study author Iris Blandón-Gitlin, PhD explained to New Scientist. In other words, at the same time your brain is focusing on holding in urine, you’re more “in control” in other ways as well.
The trick however, is making sure the urge isn’t an emergency. “If it’s just enough to keep you on edge, you might be able to focus and be a better liar,” Blandón-Gitlin added, but past that it could just make it harder to get away with your tall tale.
The lesson: While ultimately you should shoot for honesty, but if you must tell a fib be sure to load up on liquids first.