MORAGA (CBS SF) – What causes people to lie and how do you spot someone who isn’t giving you the truth? These are among the topics discussed in the new Lying 101 class offered at Saint Mary’s College this January.

The class, which is part of the four-week condensed program known on campus as “Jan Term,” examines the “definitions of lying, the psychology of lying, ethical evaluations of it, past and present attempts to detect it, and some of the countless manifestations of lying in business, science, politics, the media, education, and everyday life,” according to the course profile.

Much of the conversation surrounds high-profile lies in political realm, but lecturer Rob Weiner also asks the students to do some reflection, including a confidential and personal journal in which they reveal lies they have been keeping about themselves.

The class is by no means a how-to guide on how to spread mistruths, but rather an attempt to better understand a sometimes taboo part of human communication.

“Lying is one of the most common yet least analyzed aspects of human communication,” asserts the course profile.