By Sherrie Hurd,

Maybe what you’re hearing is not factional information. You could be the victim of the illusion of truth.

Truth is the truth and a lie is a lie, right? Well, it can get a little blurry at times. Yes, we all have problems with recognizing the truth from lies, but sometimes it’s because we’re dealing with manipulators.

To make things worse, liars and manipulators are using the illusion of truth to convince us that what they say, or omit, is fact. Their tactics seem to be working better than ever.

What Is the Illusion of Truth?

The illusion of truth is not just a statement in a sentence describing how someone deceived you.

Psychologist Tom Stafford has shared a secret with us about this illusion. He says the secret of avoiding lies is to avoid repetition. Yes, some of the best liars and manipulators use repetition to instill a sort of familiarity in the brain. What seems familiar often seems truthful, wouldn’t you think?

This way of thinking has been coined the illusion of truth effect. It works by comparing truth with a lie, by only changing a small portion of the lie to resemble a second truth.

Let’s look at an example.  The truth would be, “A penny is brown”, and a lie would be “a dime is brown”. I guess this one is a little too obvious, but it can easily be twisted if the dime just happens to be tarnished or covered with something. This would actually be a breeze for a liar.

Now, back to repetition. If you were told the lie about the coins once, and then again, you might believe it, especially if your perception was off.

However, it would be easier to fool someone with repetition by using fruits or vegetables. You can convince someone that peanuts grow on trees if you repeat it enough and show nothing to prove otherwise. I believe it’s how politicians pass off lies for the truth for so long and develop quite a large following.

Now, this effect may be interesting, but in the worst of hands, it can prove to be catastrophic to the lives of honest people. When toxic people, such as manipulators, learn the ability to lie in this manner, they can lie in all sorts of ways.

Here are ways the illusion of truth is used by manipulators:


Some people are easily convinced and manipulated by people who use rationalization. When it comes to lying, rationalization is a way to hide the inner lies.

For example, if you confront someone about their behavior, they may try to rationalize why it happened. If something missing is found in a man’s coat pocket, he may never admit that he stole the item. Instead, he may say something like this,

“Oh, I don’t know how that got in there. I did let a friend of mine use my coat when they came over.”

The truth is, the man stole the item, maybe a broach or even money. He passes the blame to an unknown friend and then rationalizes how the item got into his pocket.

This same person probably uses the same strategy whenever he is caught red-handed. No matter what he’s done wrong, he rationalizes and shows that there was a perfectly honest reason for what happened.


This tactic which shows how the illusion of truth can be used focuses mostly on making real lies seem like nothing.

Many people lie about where they are or what they’re doing. When their loved ones or partners find out the truth, they try to minimalize the situation likes it’s no big deal.  One thing that might be said when someone is confronted about lying about being at a concert is,

“It’s not such a big deal. I just didn’t want you to worry about me being in that large crowd.”

Whether this is the real reason or not, it’s still a lie, and usually, when someone does this once, they have always done it and will always keep doing it as long as the situation isn’t improved. A lie is a lie, no matter how small. This, we must remember.


Have you ever heard someone you love tell a story, and then later hear a whole lot more that they left out. The part they left out, yes, that part was the part that they knew would make you upset. To keep you happy with them, they omitted a part of their story. Do you know what this is? It’s lying.

Yes, I’m sorry to inform you, but omittance is lying, just like telling a stark lie. If you have information that you purposefully hold back, you are doing nothing less than hiding the truth from the ones you love.

It’s a prime example of the illusion we’re given in place of the truth. It’s as if the important information had become invisible.


There are ways of persuasion that can make lies seem like truth. Persuasion creates an illusion by reasoning and speaking of one’s own good reputations. When lies seem attractive, they also start to look like truth, depending on how much persuasion is being used and in what manner.

For instance, if someone does and speaks many good things, then it’s easier to believe that they would be honest. Unfortunately, sometimes these are the ones who lie the most. The good deeds and persuasive talk are ways of covering their heinous acts.

Don’t be fooled

I will be honest with you, I think I’m dealing with most of these tactics in my life right now. I will keep quiet about which people are doing this. Anyway, the illusion of what seems to be true looks so much like the real thing that you can go years before learning the truth behind the falsities.

The best way to recognize when the illusion of the truth is being used against you is to become educated and watch for the signs. There are many red flags that will help you become alert and ready for the lies. When they happen, then it’s up to you about whether or not you will tolerate the disrespect.

Are you being tricked?





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