Page last updated at 10:25 GMT, Tuesday, 18 May 2010 11:25 UK

Men are bigger liars than women, says poll

A man drinking a pint
" I didn't have that much to drink" is a man's favourite lie

Men are more likely to tell lies than women and feel less guilty about it, says a survey.

In a poll of 3,000 people, researchers found that the average British man tells three lies every day, that's equivalent to 1,092 a year.

However the average woman appears more honest, lying 728 times a year - around twice a day.

Mums are the people mostly likely to be lied to, says the Science Museum who commissioned the survey.

Twenty-five per cent of men say they've lied to their mother, but only 20% of women admit to having lied to their mum.

In comparison, only 10% of people said they are likely to lie to their partner.

1. I didn't have that much to drink
2. Nothing's wrong, I'm fine
3. I had no signal
4. It wasn't that expensive
5. I'm on my way
6. I'm stuck in traffic
7. No, your bum doesn't look big in that
8. Sorry, I missed your call
9. You've lost weight
10. It's just what I've always wanted

Concerning the kind of lies we tell, men said that they most often lie to their partner about their drinking habits. "I didn't have that much to drink" is men's most popular fib.

Whereas women use the line, "Nothing's wrong, I'm fine" most often to hide their true feelings.

"It's just what I've always wanted" is the tenth most likely lie to be told to a loved one by either men or women, suggesting that men and women are quite discerning when it comes to buying presents for each other.

1. Nothing's wrong, I'm fine
2. I don't know where it is, I haven't touched it
3. It wasn't that expensive
4. I didn't have that much to drink
5. I've got a headache
6. It was in the sale
7. I'm on my way
8. Oh, I've had this ages
9. No, I didn't throw it away
10. It's just what I've always wanted

Women are most likely to feel guilty after telling a lie. Eighty-two per cent say it eats away at their conscience, compared to just 70% of men.

Is there such a thing as an acceptable lie? Eighty-four per cent of people think there is. Three quarters of those surveyed believe it's alright to fib if it's to save someone's feelings.

When it comes to the quality of the lie, 55% of Brits think women are the better liars, even though they tell fewer lies.

The survey found that 71% of people think it is fine to protect someone by telling a lie, and 57% would be happy to fib if they didn't like a gift they'd been given.

Katie Maggs, associate medical curator at the Science Museum, says the jury's out as to whether lying is a result of our genes, evolution or our upbringing.

"Lying may seem to be an unavoidable part of human nature but it's an important part of social interaction," she says.

The museum in west London is launching a gallery called "Who am I?" which makes sense of brain science, genetics and human behaviour.

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