Why do we believe compulsive liars? What makes them tick?

One of the fascinating aspects concerning the saga of convicted entrepreneur Elizabeth Holmes and recently indicted New York Congressman George Santos is how long they got away with lying to investors, patients, voters and the public.

Holmes lied about the blood-testing capacity of her health tech startup, Theranos, for years before being found guilty of fraud charges and being sent to a Texas prison May 30.

Santos lied on his resume about his educational and professional achievements, falsely claimed to be Jewish and now faces 13 federal charges relating to fraud, money laundering and lying to the House of Representatives—while still serving in the House.

Given the sheer number of prevarications, shouldn’t observers, even casual ones, have caught on to them sooner?

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