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In psychology, mythomania (also known as pseudologia fantastica or pathological lying) is a condition involving compulsive lying by a person with no obvious motivation. The affected person might believe their lies to be truth, and may have to create elaborate myths to reconcile them with other facts.

A pathological liar is someone who often embellishes his or her stories in a way that he or she believes will impress people. It may be that a pathological liar is different from a normal liar in that a pathological liar believes the lie he or she is telling to be true—at least in public—and is "playing" the role. He or she sometimes is seen to have a serious mental problem that needs to be rectified.

It is not clear, however, that this is the case. It could also be that pathological liars know precisely what they are doing. Confused hashes of history and wishes are called confabulation. "Pathological liar" is a synonym for symptoms.

Even though pathological lying is not recognized as a clinical disorder, legal court cases often require that the plaintiff prove that the defendant is aware that he or she is lying. This proof is most important in cases of slander and/or liability.

Pathological liars often actually convince themselves that they are telling the truth, which in turn can alter polygraph tests and other questioning. Some have observed that when caught in a lie, pathological liars tend to become hostile or try to disregard the fact they lied; often playing it off as a joke.

A compulsive liar will resort to telling lies, regardless of the situation. Again, everyone lies from time to time, but for a compulsive liar telling lies is routine - it becomes a habit and a way of life.

Further reading

  • Dike, C.C.,(2005) "Pathological Lying Revisited," Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law 33, no. 3
  • Weston, A.W. & Dalby, J.T.,(1991)"A case of pseudologia fantastica with antisocial personality disorder." Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 36, 612-614.
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Mythomania". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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