Have you read “War and Peace?” Me neither. However, if we are at a party and the question comes up in a conversation, statistics say I am more likely to pretend to you that I have in fact read it than I am to just stay quiet while the rest of the group discusses this great Russian novel. Why will I lie? Well, because at least one survey says I think I will appear smarter than I am.
According to an article in The Atlantic (No, really, I do read The Atlantic) when subjects were posed with the situation above and offered the option of remaining quiet, walking away from the group or pretending to have read a classic book, 62 percent admitted they have pretended to have read the book in question.
The survey was commissioned by someone in the publicity department of the television show “The Big Bang Theory” (For those of you who don’t watch, the characters on the show are nerdy geniuses) to learn how people try to look more intelligent. Lying about having read great books was one of the most common ways people try to appear brainier than perhaps they really are.