By Sara Dixon

WHEN it comes to lying, there is one universal truth – men do more of it than women.

On average, a man will tell three lies a day, racking up 1,092 whoppers in a year. But research shows that the average woman will come out with 728, fibbing just twice a day.

The most frequent lies men and women tell each other turn out to be ones they use to avoid conflict in their relationships, including the classic male line: “No, your bum doesn’t look big in that.”

Women are more likely to say “It wasn’t that expensive” or “It was in the sale” to avoid awkward questions about their spending habits.

The favourite female falsehood is “Nothing’s wrong, I’m fine”, a white lie that frequently means exactly the opposite.

The same lie is also second on the top 10 list for men – just after the most used male fib: “I didn’t have that much to drink.”

And while men lie more they are also more comfortable in not telling the truth.

The study found that 82 per cent of females questioned said telling a lie ate away at their conscience but only 70 per cent of men confessed to suffering pangs of guilt.

Most people calmed any hint of a guilty conscience by reasoning white lies were often the best way not to hurt someone’s feelings, with 75 per cent of people polled agreeing it was all right to lie with good intentions.

Researchers at the Science Museum in London, which commissioned the study, came to the conclusion that far from being damaging, small lies can oil the wheels of human interaction.

“Lying may seem to be an unavoidable part of human nature but it’s an important part of social interaction,” said Katie Maggs, the museum’s associate medical curator.

“The jury is still out as to whether human quirks like lying are the result of our genes, evolution or our upbringing.”

Market researchers OnePoll spoke to 3,000 adults for the survey ahead of the launch of the museum’s revamped Who am I? gallery.

The top 10 lies men tell their partners also include “I had no signal”, “I’m on my way”, “I’m stuck in traffic”, “Sorry, I missed your call”, “You’ve lost weight” and “It’s just what I’ve always wanted”.

For women, the list includes “I don’t know where it is”, followed by “I haven’t touched it”, then “I’ve got a headache”, “It was in the sale”, “Oh, I’ve had this for ages”, “No, I didn’t throw it away” and, like their menfolk, “It’s just what I’ve always wanted”.