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  1. ITV Report

Almost 80% of Britons have 'lied to seem more intelligent'

The most popular technique used by people wanting to appear more intelligent was to pretend they had read 'classic' books Photo: Maximilian SchÃnherr/DPA/Press Association Images

A new survey has revealed that four in five people in Britain say they have lied in order to appear more intelligent.

The most popular tactic is to talk about 'classic' books as though they have read them, with almost two-thirds (62 percent) of respondents admitting to have tried this technique.

Of these literary liars, 42 percent said they rely on film or TV adaptations and the Internet to fill in gaps in their knowledge about the plots.

More than half of respondents admitted to having books on their shelf that they have never read, while a hardcore 3 percent even hide low-brow publications inside the covers of more impressive ones.

More than half of respondents said they had books on their shelves that they had never read Credit: Jens Kalaene/DPA/Press Association Images

The top five techniques employed by people trying to seem more intelligent are:

  • Claiming to have read books considered ‘classics’ – 62%
  • Changing appearance – 53%
  • Correcting other people’s grammar – 26%
  • Dropping famous quotes into conversation – 18%
  • Claiming a higher level of fluency in a foreign language – 14%

The top five books that people claim (fictitiously) to have read are:

  • 1984 by George Orwell – 26%
  • War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy – 19%
  • Great Expectations by Charles Dickens – 18%
  • Catcher in the Rye by J D Salinger – 15%
  • A Passage to India by E M Forster – 12%

The survey of 2,000 adults in the UK was carried out to mark the release of The Big Bang Theory Season 6 on VD and Blu-Ray.