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Suspicion, Affective Response, and Educational Benefit as a Result of Deception in Psychology Research

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Abstract

This research evaluated participants' reactions to deception in experiments by having them participate in a replication of a deception experiment. Half of the participants were made aware of this deception immediately, whereas the other half were not. Participants reported little negative impact from being deceived, but significant negative effects were reported on the basis of receiving negative feedback (a manipulation in the deception experiment). Furthermore, participants who were informed of the deception became more suspicious than uninformed participants, and this effect lasted for 3 months after the initial experience. Thus, deception may not be as costly to participants as commonly believed. From a cost-benefit standpoint, other issues (e.g., suspicion and negative stimuli in experiments) should be of greater concern.
... Psychologists Epley and Huff (1998) also found that effects of deception on subjects' affective reactions were insignificant. ...
... The second source of ambiguity in empirical studies conducted and commonly cited by researchers outside of sociology (e.g., Hertwig and Ortmann 2008a) is that subjects' expectations of possible deception are interpreted as though suspicion that subjects supposedly develop as the result of deception. For instance, it is often reported that subjects who have been previously deceived are more likely to expect future deception (e.g., Beins 1993;Christensen 1977;Krupat and Garonzik 1994); and that subjects who have been deceived claim that they will be suspicious of information given to them by experimenters in the future (e.g., Epley and Huff 1998;Krupat and Garonzik 1994). While the expectation of going to be lied to can potentially lead subjects to hold suspicion during an experiment, mere anticipation of deception was found to not cause an alteration of subjects' behaviors (Chipman 1966;Christensen 1977;Finney 1987). ...
... Our result partially answers the question raised by Epley and Huff (1998) regarding the carry-over effect of deception when the same pool of subjects is used. At least in the first half of our experiments, the Second-Timers still developed with their partner interaction structures that were no different from those the First-Timers developed with their partners. ...
Conference Paper
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Given the interdisciplinary controversy over deception used in experiments, this study examines effects of deception about a “virtual confederate” (disguised as human) with whom the subjects interacted as a dyadic team in micro sociological experiments, where such effects have rarely been analyzed. Our results show that the interaction structures of teams where the subjects suspected their partner might not be human did not differ significantly from those of teams where the subjects were not deceived. Subjects’ knowledge of having been deceived in the same experiment previously did not affect their rate of suspicion about their “partner” in a subsequent session.
... Psychologists Epley and Huff (1998) also found that effects of deception on subjects' affective reactions were insignificant. ...
... The second source of ambiguity in empirical studies conducted and commonly cited by researchers outside of sociology (e.g., Hertwig and Ortmann 2008a) is that subjects' expectations of possible deception are interpreted as though suspicion that subjects supposedly develop as the result of deception. For instance, it is often reported that subjects who have been previously deceived are more likely to expect future deception (e.g., Beins 1993;Christensen 1977;Krupat and Garonzik 1994); and that subjects who have been deceived claim that they will be suspicious of information given to them by experimenters in the future (e.g., Epley and Huff 1998;Krupat and Garonzik 1994). While the expectation of going to be lied to can potentially lead subjects to hold suspicion during an experiment, mere anticipation of deception was found to not cause an alteration of subjects' behaviors (Chipman 1966;Christensen 1977;Finney 1987). ...
... Our result partially answers the question raised by Epley and Huff (1998) regarding the carry-over effect of deception when the same pool of subjects is used. At least in the first half of our experiments, the Second-Timers still developed with their partner interaction structures that were no different from those the First-Timers developed with their partners. ...
... Krupat and Garonzik (1994) found survey evidence in support of this. Yet, (Epley and Huff 1998;Sharpe, G. Adair, and Roese 1992;S. S. Smith and Richardson 1983) do not find evidence of adverse effects of past deception on other researchers and on trust in psychological research. ...
... Our survey results (see Table 2) suggest that there is a risk of provoking increased suspicion in future experiments. Epley and Huff (1998) find experimental support for this notion -even three months after the use of false feedback deception. Further, Krupat and Garonzik (1994) find survey evidence of this. ...
Thesis
Wann und warum entscheiden sich Menschen für unehrliches Verhalten? Durch das Verständnis von unehrlichem Verhalten sind politische Entscheidungsträger besser in der Lage, ein solches Verhalten zu verhindern und eine florierende Gesellschaft und Wirtschaft zu unterstützen. Das Studium der Unehrlichkeit hat in den letzten Jahren eine Blütezeit erlebt, angetrieben durch die Etablierung von Crowd-Sourced-Arbeitsplattformen, obwohl auch einige wichtige Feldarbeiten entstanden sind. Die empirischen Erkenntnisse aus diesen Studien haben die Entstehung neuer ökonomischer und psychologischer Modelle zur Erklärung unehrlichen Verhaltens unterstützt. Doch wie replizierbar und verallgemeinerbar sind die führenden experimentellen Ergebnisse? Und welche anderen kontextuellen Faktoren wie die Art und das Ausmaß der Belohnung und die Designentscheidungen des Experimentators können unehrliches Verhalten beeinflussen? Im Mittelpunkt dieser Arbeit stand der Versuch der Replikation einer in der akademischen Welt und in der populären Presse viel zitierten Arbeit. Frühere Replikationsversuche haben diese Arbeit umgangen, da es schwierig war, Zugang zu professionellen Teilnehmern zu bekommen. Die Arbeit, die wir zu wiederholen versuchten, ergab, dass nur Banker, deren berufliche Identität hervorgehoben wurde, sich unehrlich verhielten. Diese Arbeit basierte auf der Vorstellung, dass das Priming, also das Hervorheben eines Aspekts der Identität einer Person und der damit verbundenen Normen, das Verhalten beeinflussen würde. Da das Priming der professionellen Bankidentität Unehrlichkeit auslöste, wurde daraus geschlossen, dass dies ein Hinweis auf problematische Normen im Bankensektor ist. Es war jedoch unklar, ob dieses Ergebnis auch für andere Banken gilt, z. B. in der gleichen oder einer anderen Gerichtsbarkeit, in verschiedenen Segmenten (z. B. Commercial versus Investment Banking) und im Zeitverlauf.
... Previous research assessing college students' reactions to questionnaires involving direct deception indicates some adverse reactions to deception involving false, particularly negative, feedback on task performance, with little or no effects of indirect deception (Epley & Huff, 1998;Boynton, Portnoy, & Johnson, 2013). However, these studies have focused more on emotional reactivity and have not addressed participant evaluation of the costs and benefits of the research as part of debriefing. ...
Poster
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Deception fosters authenticity when conducting a study which requires answers that are ‘true to self’. This study found that subjects who were in a self-affirmation bias condition experienced stronger emotions and benefits from their participation, and experienced more fatigue compared to subjects in the non-deception study. Subjects’ views of their research participation centered on the activities the research involved more than issues of deception.
... DG: dictator game gift proportion, plotted as circles; UGoffer: ultimatum game offer proportion, plotted as closed squares; UG-resp: ultimatum game acceptance rate, plotted as open squares; WTR: welfare trade-off task ratios, plotted as triangles; eWTR: estimations of other player's welfare trade-off task ratio, plotted as diamonds. Psychology pool participants are plotted in blue; economics pool participants are plotted in red; Amazon Mechanical Turk participants are plotted in green; cross-pool subtotals and totals are plotted in black methodologies on the research enterprise (e.g., Barrera & Simpson, 2012;Bonetti, 1998;Bröder, 1998;Christensen, 1988;Cook & Yamagishi, 2008;Epley & Huff, 1998;Gerlach et al., 2019;Hertwig & Ortmann, 2001Jamison et al., 2008;Krawczyk, 2013Krawczyk, , 2015Ortmann & Hertwig, 2002;Stang, 1976). Across five subject pools and four common tasks, we did not find evidence of increased suspicion among participants previously exposed to deceptive pools or studies, and behavior did not differ significantly between suspicious and credulous participants, undercutting the pragmatic logic of the deception ban. ...
Article
Deceiving participants about the goals or content of a study is permitted in psychological research but is largely banned in economics journals and subject pools. This ban is intended to protect a public good: If experiencing deception causes participants to be suspicious in future studies, and suspicion meaningfully influences their behavior, then the entire field suffers. We report a survey of psychologists’ and economists’ attitudes toward deception (N = 568) and a large, nondeceptive multisite study in which we measured participants’ histories, suspicion levels, and behavior in four common economic tasks (N = 636). Economists reported more negative attitudes toward deceptive methods and greater support for the deception ban than did psychologists. The results of the behavioral study, however, do not support the “public good” argument for banning deception about the goals or content of a research study: Participants’ present suspicion was not clearly related to past experiences of deception, and there were no consistent behavioral differences between suspicious and credulous participants. We discuss the implications of these results for the ongoing debate regarding the acceptability of deceptive research methods.
... (p. 283) Epley and Huff (1998) provided compelling evidence that participants who are deceived become suspicious and that their suspicion remains elevated for several months. Reviewing all the evidence a decade later, Hertwig and Ortmann (2008) reported "We found evidence that suspicion has the potential to adversely impact research outcomes, both in the experiment at hand and in subsequent studies" (p. ...
... [18] In fact, most of the study participants do not bother about deception [19] rather they enjoy the participation in research using deception. [20] The arguments against the use of deception in research are: use of deception in research is inappropriate as it plays with the faith and emotion of the participant, [21] it also directly affects the dignity of the researchers, when the research participants are suspicious about the researchers, their response for a particular intervention or procedure will change, which may compromise the research findings, and it may put the research ethics under question as research ethics depends on integrity, accuracy, efficiency, and objectivity. [22] Deception can be direct or indirect. ...
Article
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The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) recently published the third revised guidelines “National Ethical Guidelines for Biomedical and Health-Related Research Involving Human Participants” in 2017. The changes to the guidelines were needed to acculturate the rapid advances in the research environment and advances in science and technology. The revised guidelines propose substantial changes/ modifications compared to the previous version. These include the introduction of broad consent, ethical issues related to deception, review of multi-centric research by a single ethics committee and ethical issues involved in implementation research and other issues related to public health research. The revised guidelines also incorporate modifications and minor changes to the previous version. Although most of the changes in the revised guidelines are in parallel to most of the international guidelines, we have also highlighted the minor differences compared to other international guidelines.
Statement: Many techniques and modifications commonly used by the simulation community have been identified as deceptive. Deception is an important issue addressed by both the newly adopted Healthcare Simulationist Code of Ethics and the American Psychological Association Code of Conduct. Some view these approaches as essential whereas others question their necessity as well as their untoward psychological effects. In an attempt to offer guidance to simulation-based healthcare educators, we explore educational practices commonly identified as deceptive along with their potential benefits and detriments. We then address important decision points and high-risk situations that should be avoided to uphold ethical boundaries and psychological safety among learners. These are subsequently analyzed in light of the Code of Ethics and used to formulate guidelines for educators that are intended to ensure that deception, when necessary, is implemented in as psychologically safe a manner as possible.
Article
Background Deception can be defined as causing someone to accept a falsehood as true. Within simulation, a deception is an aspect of the environment for which there is no clear agreement or knowledge among facilitators and learners about its ground rules, boundaries, or existence. The psychological literature surrounding deception is mixed, and little simulation-specific research exists. Methods This mixed-methods survey-based research explored attitudes for and against deception's use and facilitator perceptions of psychological risk and ethical harm. Subjects consisted of a random sample of members from three international simulation societies that included nurses, physicians, standardized patients, and educational specialists. The survey was designed and tested using an iterative process and distributed using SurveyMonkey™. Descriptive statistics and thematic analyses were performed. Results Eighty-four (11%) of surveys were completed. Thirty-three percent of respondents currently use modification/deception, whereas 61 to 75% of respondents expressed psychological and ethical concerns. Thematic analysis yielded five themes: types of modification/deception, decision-making considerations and guardrails, never events (high risk), potential detriments, and potential benefits. Conclusions The use of deception appears relatively prevalent in the simulation community, but significant concerns also exist. Careful consideration of all relevant factors is needed if deception is to be used responsibly.
Article
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Addresses the question of whether deception should be an acceptable option in psychological research. Citing the ethical standards regarding experimental deception established by APA and the dramatic increase in the use of deception, the authors call on professional psychology to outlaw all forms of deception. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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Tested the self-efficacy hypotheses that (1) personal mastery expectations are the primary determinants of behavioral change and (2) individual differences in past experiences and attribution of success to skill or chance result in different levels of generalized self-efficacy expectations. A Self-Efficacy Scale was developed and tested with 376 college students. Factor analysis yielded 2 subscales: a General Self-Efficacy subscale (17 items) and a Social Self-Efficacy subscale (6 items). Confirmation of several predicted conceptual relationships between the Self-Efficacy subscales and other personality measures (i.e., Locus of Control, Personal Control, Social Desirability, Ego Strength, Interpersonal Competence, and Self-Esteem) provided evidence of construct validity. Positive relationships between the Self-Efficacy Scale and vocational, educational, and military success established criterion validity. (15 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
78 subjects who had participated in experiments involving deception and the use of aversive contingencies were interviewed and completed a questionnaire concerning their reactions to the study. Of the subjects, 20% were “bothered” by some aspect of the experiment. Subjects' dissatisfaction was greatest and lasted longest for issues other than deception and the use of aversives.
Article
Discusses the American Psychological Association's ethical standards concerning the misleading of Ss with regard to experimental purposes or procedures, and proposes a "role-play sampling" procedure by which S's likelihood of consent to (and thereby the "reasonableness" of) a proposed experimental procedure can be determined in advance of actual experimentation. The procedure was tested with freshmen and sophomores (N = 106) drawn from the same college population used in 6 published social psychological experiments. Ss examined the experimental procedures used originally in each experiment and indicated their "willingness to consent" to participate in each study. 4 of the 6 experiments had been considered stressful by actual participants; 2 were nonstressful. The effect of varying amounts and kinds of information about each experiment upon consent rates was also examined. Results show both the stress and information factors significantly affected consent rates. Evidence is presented which suggests that the role-play sampling procedure possesses predictive validity in terms of the reaction which may be anticipated from those who subsequently participate in the actual experiment. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Early critical reaction to the practice of deceiving research subjects suggested that its continued use would lead to a negative view of the discipline and distrust by future subjects. In spite of these concerns and the constraints imposed by ethical codes, deception has remained a popular research strategy. The study reported in this article compared data from the Psychological Research Survey (PRS) at the beginning of the academic year in 1970 and the responses of students surveyed at a comparable time in 1989. Scores on the PRS from the recent samples were found to be similar to scores from 20years ago. After participating in a number of experiments, subjects sampled in 1990 were accepting of arguments justifying the use of deception; however, they reported a somewhat more negative attitude toward psychological research than in the 1989 sample, regardless of whether they had been exposed to deception.
Article
Deception has been attacked repeatedly as ethically unacceptable and morally reprehensible. However, research has revealed that subjects who have participated in deception experiments versus nondeception experiments enjoyed the experience more, received more educational benefit from it, and did not mind being deceived or having their privacy invaded. Such evidence suggests that deception, although unethical from a moral point of view, is not considered to be aversive, undesirable, or an unacceptable methodology from the research participant's point of view. The repeated assumption of the unacceptability of deception seems to be due to the fact that deception has been evaluated only from the viewpoint of moral philosophizing. This has led to the repeated conclusion that deception is reprehensible and seems to have created a perceptual set to view deception immediately as aversive. However, the perception of the unethical nature of deception seems to be minimal in studies that investigate innocuous public behaviors and enhanced in studies that run the risk of harming research participants or in studies that investigate private behaviors. When this knowledge is combined with the fact that research participants do not mind being deceived, and that it can also be viewed as immoral not to conduct research on important problems, the scale seems to be tilted in favor of continuing the use of deception in psychological research.
Article
Male and female college students (N = 655) participated in 15 experiments involving various degrees and types of deception. After a thorough debriefing, they rated their experiment on five items dealing with its value, the offensiveness of the deception, and willingness to have a friend participate. The generally positive evaluation of these experiments is discussed in terms of the use of college students and procedural factors which increased their choice about whether to participate.
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If a person is induced to cease performing a desired action through the threat of punishment, he will experience dissonance. His cognition that he is not performing the action is dissonant with his cognition that the action is desirable. An effective way of reducing dissonance is by derogating the action. The greater the threat of punishment the less the dissonance—since a severe threat is consonant with ceasing to perform the action. Thus, the milder the threat, the greater will be a person's tendency to derogate the action. In a laboratory experiment 22 preschool children stopped playing with a desired toy in the face of either a mild or severe threat of punishment. The mild threat led to more derogation of the toy than the severe threat. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)