- The stories told are usually dazzling or fantastical, but never breach the limits of plausibility, which is key to the pathological liar’s tact. The tales are not a manifestation of delusion or some broader type ofpsychosis; upon confrontation, the teller can admit them to be untrue, even if unwillingly.
- The fabricative tendency is chronic; it is not provoked by the immediate situation or social pressure so much as it is an innate trait of the personality. There is some element of dyscontrol present.
- A definitely internal, not an external, motive for the behavior can be discerned clinically: e.g., long-lasting extortion or habitual spousal battery might cause a person to lie repeatedly, without the lying being a pathological symptom.
- The stories told tend toward presenting the liar favorably. The liar “decorates their own person” by telling stories that present them as the hero or the victim. For example, the person might be presented as being fantastically brave, as knowing or being related to many famous people, or as having great power, position, or wealth.
Pathological lying may also present as false memory syndrome, where the sufferer genuinely believes that fictitious (imagined) events have taken place. The sufferer may believe that he or she has accomplished superhuman feats or awe-inspiring acts of altruism and love — or has committed equally grandiose acts of diabolical evil, for which the sufferer must atone, or indeed has already atoned in her/his fantasies.