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Small lies in social networks may keep society running

The little white lies people tell each day may help to build social networks and create smoother interactions between people, a new study suggests.

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Guest post by Chris Riotta

Trust is often thought to be one of the most crucial building blocks to any relationship. But some lies may be good for society.

In simulations, small fibs — such as lying to avoid hurting someone’s feelings — appeared to help to build communities and form connections among individuals in a social network. Larger lies — such as lying about stealing or cheating — can fragment those networks, making it harder for them to grow. The lies, whether big or small, can shape social networks and ultimately society as a whole, researchers argue July 23 in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

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