Hart believes that pathological lying should be talked about the same way we talk about other psychopathologies.
“Whether we’re talking about mood disorders, like depression, or anxiety disorders, we say that they are pathological because they are statistically aberrant,” Hart said. “Usually something is happening a lot or not enough.”
The way, then, to define any psychopathology, including pathological lying, Hart explained, is with four criteria:
- behavior that occurs with atypical frequency or violates social norms
- behavior that causes dysfunction
- behavior that causes distress
- behavior that poses risk of harm or danger.
Then there is also the “tripartite theory of lying,” which addresses when people lie.