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The (Dis)honesty Project

From political lies and fake news to financial fraud, plagiarism, and infidelity, dishonesty seems to be a universal part of the “post-truth” world we live in. Going far beyond scandalous headlines, cheating isn’t just happening on a newsworthy scale, it’s happening in small ways everywhere. It’s human nature to lie, we all do it! But little fibs can snowball into large-scale problems with major implications for society. Studies have shown that we don’t really understand the causes and complexities of dishonesty. Research also indicates that reminding people and ourselves about our own morality makes us behave better.

The (Dis)Honesty Project hopes to create a safe space where we can explore the complicated truth(s) of the matter, improving our own behavior and that of the world around us. The project is a partnership between bestselling author and social scientist Dan Ariely and SALTY Features.

The Project’s initiatives include:

“I wrote many fake news articles. I'm not proud of it. I'm part of the problem but I'm also a product of my environment.”
“I told my girlfriend her tan looked natural when really she looked like one of those long skinny deformed sweet potatoes”
“Sometimes I lie about having a mental health condition so I do not get mistreated.”
“I talk about my dad and things he does at home although it's been a long time since he left us.”
“I've lied about my sexuality. I have claimed one identity, then another, but I still don't know where I actually stand on the matter.”
“I always lie about my weight: on my driver's license, even on medical forms.”
“I've lied about whether or not I would remove my headscarf if I was given the option. I would remove it if I wouldn't be judged socially for it.”
“A colleague of mine phoned me when I was starting my therapy session and I said I was at the doctor.”
“I lie to make jokes, to make people laugh. The truth is quite boring.”
“I am unemployed and said I was employed in front of my kids to another parent.”
“As my late husband lay in the hospital for 10 weeks in palliative care, I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and I NEVER told him. He died not knowing. the truth.”

Dan Ariely

Despite our intentions, why do we so often fail to act in our own best interest? Why do we promise to skip the chocolate cake, only to find ourselves drooling our way into temptation when the dessert tray rolls around? Why do we overvalue things that we’ve worked to put together? What are the forces that influence our behavior? Dan Ariely, James B. Duke Professor of Psychology & Behavioral Economics at Duke University, is dedicated to answering these questions and others in order to help people live more sensible – if not rational – lives. His interests span a wide range of behaviors, and his sometimes unusual experiments are consistently interesting, amusing and informative, demonstrating profound ideas that fly in the face of common wisdom.

He is a founding member of the Center for Advanced Hindsight, co-creator of the film documentary (Dis)Honesty: The Truth About Lies, and a three-time New York Times bestselling author. His books include Predictably Irrational, The Upside of Irrationality, The Honest Truth About Dishonesty, Irrationally Yours, and Payoff.

In 2013 Bloomberg recognized Dan as one of Top 50 Most Influential thinkers. He also has a bi-weekly advice column in the Wall Street Journal called “Ask Ariely.” Dan can be found at www.danariely.com.

Yael Melamede

Yael Melamede is the co-founder of SALTY Features - an independent production company based in NYC whose goal is to create media that is entertaining and enhances the world. SALTY’s newest film Straight/Curve, directed by Jenny McQuaile, was released by Epix in June, 2017. SALTY’s other films include (Dis)Honesty – The Truth About Lies; Inocente, directed by Sean and Andrea Fine, winner of the 2013 Academy Award for Best Documentary Short; When I Walk, directed by Jason DaSiliva, winner of the 2015 Documentary Emmy; and Desert Runners, directed by Jennifer Steinman, winner of multiple awards in the US and around the world. Other producing credits include: Brief Interviews with Hideous Men, The Inner Life of Martin Frost, My Architect nominated for an Academy Award in 2004. Melamede was trained as an architect before becoming a filmmaker.

Art is a lie that makes us realize truth.- Pablo Picasso
A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.- Winston Churchill
The color of truth is grey.- André Gide
If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything.- Mark Twain
Lying is the most simple form of self-defense.- Susan Sontag
The truth is like a lion. You don’t have to defend it. Let it loose. It will defend itself.- Augustine of Hippo
The hardest tumble a man can take is to fall over his own bluff.- Ambrose Bierce
History is a set of lies agreed upon.- Napoleon Bonaparte
You can't win; if you tell lies people will distrust you. If you tell the truth people will dislike you.- Oscar Wilde
The visionary lies to himself, the liar only to others.- Friedrich Nietzsche
Have you ever lied?

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For general inquiries, please contact us at truth@thedishonestyproject.com