Liar! Liar! Who Lies the Most?

Photo Credit:  Copyright 2016, DonkeyHotey, Hillary Clinton vs. Donald Trump Caricatures,


She says that he’s unqualified, unfit, unmoored, unprepared, unreliable, unstable, unpredictable, and untrustworthy. She characterizes him as “dangerous and divisive.”  She says that Trump’s ideas are not just different, but are “dangerously incoherent.”  Hillary says, “They’re not even really ideas—just a series of bizarre rants, personal feuds, and outright lies.”


He says, “She has a lot to hide.”  He calls her, “Lying Crooked Hillary,” characterizing her as more dishonest than any other politician to ever run for the White House.  At Trump rallies, everyone applauds when Trump shouts, “HILLARY LIIIIIEEEEES!”  The crowd roars, “Lock her up!  Lock her up!  Lock her up!” He says, “She took a short-circuit in the brain. She’s got problems…  Honestly, I don’t think she’s all there.”


Which of the four temperaments lies the most?  This is a general question that’s been brought up for years whenever we have conducted client workshops.  It comes up in a very lighthearted manner, where we all laugh together about it.  And almost every time, the whole group assumes that it’s the Artisan temperament.  Well, is this true?  What we would say, is that all of the temperaments lie.  Some tell lots of lies, that is, the “quantity” of lies told are numerous.  Some tell huge lies, that is, the “quality” of the lie is big, bold, and amazing.  Or, there’s complexity and ingenuity to the lie.  Some lies are uttered for convenience.  Some to cover up guilt or shame.  Some lies are a result of self-deception, and some lies are made to manipulate.  Here at Keirsey, what we would argue is that there are different ways that each of the temperaments lie.  Each feels differently about the lies they tell, and they respond differently when caught.

To understand lying, we first need to look at what drives each of the four temperaments.  What is the basis for their self-esteem? When do they feel best about themselves?

For the Artisan, they feel best about themselves when they display artistic action, audacity, and adaptability.  When they do or say something, it must have flair, it needs to be spectacular, done with finesse or style, and have a “wow” factor to it.  Behaviors need to be bold, daring, courageous.  It has to have teeth, guts, or cojones.  Artisans feel best when they can defy the odds, and pull off the impossible.  Artisans need a fire-breathing challenge to slay. They feel pride when they can adapt, improvise, and make things happen with very little to go off of.  Artisans want to shake things up, to go against the establishment.  They want to stand out.

So… When Artisans lie, they tell sensational lies.  They tell big, bold, over-the-top lies.  And when they lie, there’s a feeling of utter satisfaction if they can pull it off, and get away with it. If they get caught, they provide an outlandish, often entertaining explanation, or they pivot, maneuver, and improvise to change the dialogue to something that has a greater “wow” effect.

Donald Trump is an Artisan Promoter (ESTP)

For the Guardian, they feel best about themselves when they are reliable, of service, and respectable.  When they do or say something, it must be appropriate, fitting, good, honorable, and acceptable. Behaviors need to be contributing to the establishment. Traditions need to be followed, protocols and proven track records are what count. Dues must be paid, and everyone needs to get in line, carry their own weight, pay their fair share. When a Guardian feels as though they have earned respect, they feel great about themselves. It is important for them to feel that they are worthy of the establishment. They want to fit in.

So… When Guardians lie, they tell lies of convenience. They tell lies which will help them make gains in their social status, to appear as being more respectable.  And when they lie, they do whatever they can to make sure they are not found guilty, as this would threaten their respectability.  If they get caught, they make a big ordeal out of it, admitting fault, and issuing a formal apology to earn back their respect.

For the Idealist, they feel best about themselves when they are empathetic, benevolent, and authentic.  When they do or say something, it needs to show caring, consideration, and compassion.  Behaviors must be marked by goodness. Other peoples’ feelings matter, and therefore, the way all of us treat one another is what really counts. Idealists exist to provide hope where there is no hope, and bring meaning and purpose to the least, the last, and the lost. When an Idealist is authentic, and they can feel the genuineness of another person, they feel a deep connection. They want to express themselves.

So… When Idealists lie, they tell heartfelt lies. They tell lies which they can often come to believe as truth. They are connected to their stories, believing that they only have good intentions. Idealists tell lies to protect others feelings, but can feel horrible inside, as the truth begins to eat away at their soul. If they get caught, they often feel relief, and confess willingly, telling the whole story, because of their need to restore authenticity.

For the Rational, they feel best about themselves when they display ingenuity, autonomy, and willpower.  When they do or say something, it needs to make sense, be intelligent, reasonable, and strategic.  Behaviors must be marked by competence.  Rationals want results, and they expect themselves and others to be self-directed, self-defined, and self-confident. Rationals exist to evolve, innovate, excel, and improve. They pride themselves on being independent, and they never give up. Rationals persist until they reach their objective, and they confidently make decisions and hit their targets.  They want to achieve greatness.

So… When Rationals lie, they tell rational lies—that is, lies that make sense. They tell elaborate, complex lies which they hope others won’t understand. They hide the truth in complexity, by being vague, and by using intellectual banter. Rationals tell lies when lying helps in reaching a specific objective they have in mind. They can often explain, excuse, and justify anything, making it seem right. If they get caught, they use their ingenuity to outsmart, fool, or manipulate the accuser.

Hillary Clinton is a Rational Mastermind INTJ

They say that all Politicians are liars.  And perhaps this is true.  But, the truth is that we have all lied from time to time.  In our estimation, both Hillary and Donald are no exception when it comes to the statements they have made on the campaign trail.  In future blog posts, we’ll be taking a closer look at some of the lies both of them have told through the framework we’ve just laid out above.  Stay tuned in for more on the Keirsey Blog!


View All


  1. Whichever temperament is involved, only the biggest liars gain political power.


    1. I’d have to disagree with that. The most competent liars do. I remember reading strategy guides to the board game Diplomacy. The idea is to simulate great powers of the Edwardian Era. In any case while many players think that because the game encourages treachery it therefore follows that one should be “stabbing”(breaking a treaty usually by an attack) all the time. But of course no one will make an agreement with you if they know you are going to stab them. It therefore follows that you should know the right moment.
      Now in large-scale democracies it is the unfortunate fact that the loudest mouth gets the attention. And so political campaigning does tend to encourage that kind of behavior. However a lot of highly effective statesmen come from the civil and military bureaucracies where power is gained by keeping the machine going not by short term exagerrated impressions. And in interstate relations deception certainly has a strong role but it is controlled deception, not the blustering you see in campaigns. So there are different styles of deceit in differing areas of politics and the question is more complex then it sounds.


      1. Yes, I agree the question is more complex than it sounds and politicians seem to get the greatest criticism for lying, because, yes, they are the loudest and due to mass media, the most visible and prominent. Lying exists in all areas of society and is done by all types for many reasons, at times, very moral and kind-hearted. The worst and biggest lies are those we tell ourselves, as, those are the ones we are least likely, as my high school English teacher would remind us, use our “critical thinking.” In those we are usually blind to our gifts, virtues, talents, and positive characteristics and concentrate almost totally on our faults, weaknesses and shortcomings; even so far as to choose marriage partners, relationships, jobs, careers, college majors, and life paths, etc. based only what may be termed the “negative” And, then we wonder why are we so unhappy; why does life never seem to work out and sometimes we turn to various addictive substances and lifestyles for some false type of relief. Although, we do need to be concerned when we are “lied to” from others in all areas of our life, especially from those we elect and are working towards election, our first concern needs to be how we lie to ourselves. If we continually accept lies to ourselves (as I can guess, many do and I will include myself) we will most likely accept lies from others including the “elected” and “want to be elected” And, then, we not only hurt privately as a person, but, also publicly as a nation. Perhaps, in a strange and adverse way, this may what we are to take away from the Trump vs. Clinton presidential contest visibly in play and saturating our media daily. Thank you.

  2. I really enjoyed this article. Interesting take on the candidates…seemingly spot-on. Thanks for posting.

    Denise Ryan


  3. I think I am an Idealist and I usually place a lot of my self-respect on whether I am an honest and have integrity. I always believe in my heart that telling the truth is the best policy; plus, my confession time in prayer and church is less. However, there are so many times, I have told the truth and got “in trouble” for it. To the point, I have been “verbally abused’ and almost lost jobs, friendships, etc. My telling the truth did not always contain activities of wrong-doing. Many times, I was doing right. And, of course, there are the “little white lies” usually to beg off performing an activity, paying a bill when running short of money, saying I had something to do when all I really wanted to do was stay home and read. And, then, there are the “near lies” when you really don’t tell the truth nor do you lie, you just don’t reveal “whatever.” In a way, you stay a “mystery.” As an Idealist/INFP, I guess I do believe in being authentic; but, also this Idealist/INFP combined with life experience means being protective of oneself and not just physically. I can not tell you how many times I decided to go shopping and did not tell my mother where I went so I could avoid her “Guardian” tirades towards me about spending money and I do not tell her that I bought any perfume or are wearing perfume because she will go into a “tirade” about not wearing perfume since my beloved sister came down with cancer and she helped in the care of her. I don’t regret her loving care towards my sister when she was sick. However, I must admit that she as a Guardian and I, as an Idealist, if it had been me, she would not have done her “parental” role; although, there would have been tirades and insinuations as to what I could have done to prevent it. My sister and I were extremely close, and although she was not an Idealist, she respected me, protected me and loved me unconditionally. I am not quite sure her temperament; but, we got along better than any two sisters. As far as “lying” I think she was the one person in the world that I lied extremely rare to. Thank you. .


    1. Thanks for sharing your stories. Your authenticity is well received through your openness. 🙂


  4. Thanks for starting this blog! Love it already.


    1. Actually that is insightful. I am a rational and don’t lie very much(I feel your suspicions already but that at least is true; I have other faults). But I find lies more distasteful when purposeless. I remember William F Buckley’s memoirs of a term spent in the UN(apparently POTUS didn’t consider it an important post and was willing to put a distinguished columnist there instead of a professional diplomat). What shocked me most reading it was not just that the people there told lies but the nature of the lies. If they had been trying to deceive an enemy state I could have understood it. Instead all the folk there seem to spout off useless propaganda to each other that no real diplomat would have believed and few would have cared about if they did believe it. The sort of stuff you would with revulsion expect them to feed to the public but not to each other. The sheer uselessness of it astounded me.


  5. I think it would be VERY important to know, should they be elected President…how each temperament deals with stress – esp. in such a HIGH stress job as President of the USA.

    For example I believe Artisans like Donald “act out” rather like an adult throwing a tantrum.
    And Rationalists like Hillary immerse themselves further almost obsessively into their jobs.


  6. Nita, I enjoyed your question about how Donald and Hillary would deal with stress.

    There are several levels of coping that each of us has and we go deeper and deeper into those modalities with increased layers of stress. These mechanisms may or may not be a direct correlation to the Myers-Briggs personality scale.

    Would love to see Keisey respond with an article to your question.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s