The Science of Honesty

What is Honesty?

Honesty, speaking and acting truthfully, is more than not lying, deceiving, stealing, or cheating. It entails showing respect towards others and having integrity and self-awareness. Honesty is the foundation for trust and key in social relationships; it gives us hope, confidence, compassion and improves decision-making.

Why Honesty Matters

  • Honesty can improve mental and physical health. On the other hand, dishonesty can increase blood pressure and heart rate and lead to other adverse health consequences.
  • Honest yet compassionate, communication promotes openness and trust and is fundamental for functioning social and intimate relationships. (Self) honesty – to be truthful to ourselves – is essential in building confidence, integrity, and self-awareness. These are protective factors against substance use and other risky behavior.
  • Honesty is essential for social progress and development around the world. The truth lays the foundation for progress, while dishonesty contributes to greater problems.
  • There is a neurophysiological difference between deception and truth at the brain activation level, contributing to a stress reaction when we are dishonest.
Did You Know? Open communication, including active listening, is key to nurturing honesty in children and youth.

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“Honesty is an essential part of Social and Emotional Learning (SEL).”

Made possible with the generous support of France.