Article
To read the full-text of this research, you can request a copy directly from the authors.

Abstract

Occasionally, people trade monetary gains for moral costs and engage in dishonest behavior. Based on research showing that people react more sensitively toward a possible loss compared to a possible gain (i.e., loss aversion), the present contribution examines the idea that people will more likely engage in dishonest behavior to reduce the extent of a loss compared to increasing the extent of a gain. In the two experimental studies, participants could engage in dishonest behavior either to avoid a loss (loss condition) or to approach an equivalent gain (gain condition). To assess dishonest behavior, a die-under-the-cup paradigm (Study 1) and a coin-toss task (Study 2) was applied. Results of both studies demonstrated the predicted effect of framing, supporting the idea that people show more dishonest behavior to avoid a loss compared to approaching an equivalent gain.

No full-text available

Request Full-text Paper PDF

To read the full-text of this research,
you can request a copy directly from the authors.

... Consequently, lying is self-serving with no chance of detection in this setup. Participants therefore claim higher payoffs than expected by chance, which indicates that lying takes place at least to some degree (Foerster et al., 2013;Hilbig & Hessler, 2013;Schindler & Pfattheicher, 2017). ...
... Research of loss aversion indicates that preventing losses is a stronger motivation for a specific behavior than collecting gains (e.g., Gächter et al., 2010). Also in previous studies of dishonesty research, avoiding losses was a greater motivation to lie than the possibility to increase gains (Cameron et al., 2010;Grolleau et al., 2016), specifically in the die under the cup paradigm (Schindler & Pfattheicher, 2017). Based on these results, we expected participants to value potential losses as more negative than the same amount of potential gains as positive. ...
... for the cognitive load manipulation. Regarding the impact of the two incentive frames, previous studies found even larger effects (e.g., d = 0.56 for Schindler & Pfattheicher, 2017). A power analysis resulted in a sample size of 66 participants for a probability of ≥ 0.80 to detect a significant effect of the cognitive load as well as incentive manipulation in a within-subjects design (α = 0.05, two-tailed testing; calculated with the power.t.test function in the statistic package R, version 4.0.3). ...
Article
Full-text available
In three experiments, we examined the cognitive underpinnings of self-serving dishonesty by manipulating cognitive load under different incentive structures. Participants could increase a financial bonus by misreporting outcomes of private die rolls without any risk of detection. At the same time, they had to remember letter strings of varying length. If honesty is the automatic response tendency and dishonesty is cognitively demanding, lying behavior should be less evident under high cognitive load. This hypothesis was supported by the outcome of two out of three experiments. We further manipulated whether all trials or only one random trial determined payoff to modulate reward adaptation over time (Experiment 2) and whether payoff was framed as a financial gain or loss (Experiment 3). The payoff scheme of one random or all trials did not affect lying behavior and, discordant to earlier research, facing losses instead of gains did not increase lying behavior. Finally, cognitive load and incentive frame interacted significantly, but contrary to our assumption gains increased lying under low cognitive load. While the impact of cognitive load on dishonesty appears to be comparably robust, motivational influences seem to be more elusive than commonly assumed in current theorizing.
... Our third experiment examines whether loss aversion further promotes dishonesty in group settings. Building on Grolleau et al. (2016) and Schindler & Pfattheicher (2016) findings on the detrimental effect that loss aversion has on individual honesty, we test how it interacts with group settings that promote collaborative dishonesty. Therefore, in Experiment 3 we add to the "dyadic die-rolling" paradigm the threat of loss aversion. ...
... Finally, our results contribute to the literature studying the underlying mechanisms of dishonest behaviour extended to group settings. Contrary to studies on the relationship between loss aversion and individual dishonesty (Grolleau et al., 2016;Schindler & Pfattheicher, 2016), we do not find that loss aversion has an effect on collaborative dishonesty when the group setting is suboptimally designed. ...
... and Schindler & Pfattheicher (2016) on the detrimental effect that loss aversion might have on perceptions of dishonesty in group settings. ...
Thesis
Full-text available
Humans are social animals who evolved to live in societies. They are "encultured" actors as their preferences, perceptions and values are shaped by the social context to which they are exposed. Part of economic failures is due to suboptimal social contexts which determine individuals' decisions. These social contexts can be better designed by organizations and governments. The ultimate goal of this research is to emphasize that social context can be detrimental for individual decisions, providing empirically-based behavioral insights for policy makers who wish to implement regulatory policies on corruption, gender gap and injustice. Behavioral and Experimental Economics provides a clean tool to keep the internal validity necessary to disentangle complex behavioral aspects that cannot be easily observed in the field, such as those related to the influence of social environment. This Doctoral Thesis is a collection of three laboratory experimental essays about the interplay between suboptimal social contexts and decisions. The first Chapter investigates the role of group identity in unethical decisions motivated by unfairness. The second Chapter provides evidence of gender stereotype in perceptions of others' risk attitudes. The third Chapter shows that small contextual changes can promote the diffusion of corruption while others inhibit it.
... Engström, Nordblom, Ohlsson, and Persson, 2015). Schindler and Pfattheicher (2017) noted that loss framing increases cheating relative to gain framing. This was also shown by Grolleau et al. (2016), Teschner (2014), Markiewicz, Malawski, and Tyszka (2019), and Markiewicz and Gawryluk (2019). ...
... loss aversion might induce a feeling of deservingness and being entitled to reduce the loss of endowment […], lowering the moral costs of violating the value of honesty compared to the gain frame. Schindler and Pfattheicher's (2017) suggestion, therefore, implies that loss framing could potentially lower the intrinsic cost of lying, making people place less weight on moral considerations. This implies that people have double moral standards-one for times of prosperity and one for times of hardship. ...
... H2a. DMs cheat more with loss framing than with gain framing. This hypothesis is not novel; rather, the aim here was to replicate previous findings (Grolleau et al., 2016;Schindler & Pfattheicher, 2017;Teschner, 2014) as a preliminary stage to testing H1, H2a merely being a staging point on the way to testing H1 which is considered to be the present work's major contribution to the literature. ...
Article
Previous studies show that decision makers (DMs) lie more to avoid a loss than achieve a gain. Two compelling mechanisms might explain this observation. One assumes that lying is a risky activity and relates to the shape of the monetary value function described by prospect theory, which assumes (a) increased risk taking for loss frames and (b) an asymmetry between the perceived values of losses and gains. The other relates to the importance of self‐esteem functions as expressed in self‐concept maintenance models, self‐esteem issues being weighed against monetary issues. This alternative explanation assumes that a loss frame serves as a factor lowering moral considerations. We report an experimental study presenting sets of lotteries to DMs, once in a moral context and once in a traditional probabilistic context. The results show that DMs take less risk when lotteries are presented in a moral context. It is also shown that DMs take more risk for losses than gains, this holding for both the moral and probabilistic contexts. This latter result suggests that loss/gain asymmetry can be completely explained by prospect theory factors, and framing makes no difference to the valuing of moral considerations.
... Studies of adult populations have shown that adults do not necessarily behave in accordance to these models' predictions. Thus, whereas some studies have shown that adult DMs cheat more with loss framing than with gain framing (Grolleau, Kocher, & Sutan, 2016;Markiewicz & Czupryna, 2019;Schindler & Pfattheicher, 2017;Teschner, 2014), other studies do not (Charness, Blanco-Jimenez, Ezquerra, & Rodriguez-Lara, 2018). ...
... Similarly, studies of adult populations mostly show that adult DMs cheat more willingly to avoid losses (under loss framing) than to obtain rewards of the same magnitude (under gain framing; Grolleau et al., 2016;Markiewicz & Czupryna, 2019;Schindler & Pfattheicher, 2017;Teschner, 2014), although opposite results exist (Charness et al., 2018). Usually, the expectation that DMs should cheat more for losses is explained by the shape of the value function in PT (Kahneman & Tversky, 1979). ...
... This evidence that gender interacts with sensitivity to framing answers Capraro's (2018) call to identify moderators of the genderlying relationship. Whereas girls' behavior seems in line with observations for adults (Grolleau et al., 2016;Kern & Chugh, 2009;Schindler & Pfattheicher, 2017), boys' behavior may be different because their cognitive development at the age studied is less advanced than that of girls (Fennema & Tartre, 1985;Marshall, 1984). Here, at least two possibilities emerge. ...
Article
Although early economic approaches to misbehavior merely compare the monetary utility of accessible options, self‐concept maintenance models introduce moral considerations to the equation. These assume that people trade off possible gains to be made from moral transgressions with associated decreases in self‐esteem. On the basis of the assumption that the development of moral values among children is weaker than in adults, we expected children's behavior to be close to that of the hypothetical homo economicus, with their decisions as to whether to cheat therefore being influenced by decision theory elements: normative elements such as temptation magnitude, and behavioral elements such as framing. As children should pay no heed to moral considerations in dynamic multiple task settings, behavior opposite to “moral cleansing” was expected, with a first lie predicting later lies. In addition to testing the above ideas, the present study adopted a novel methodology. Our hypotheses were tested in a lab‐in‐the‐field study using a modified “roll a die” method in a naturalistic setting for children of ages 7 to 10. We modified the method to identify both true and declared values of die rolls (a novel DICE+ electronic die was used). As expected, children were sensitive to temptation and cheated more willingly for more attractive prizes. Girls (but not boys) lied more (in terms of both frequency and magnitude) to avoid losses (with loss framing) than to make gains (with gain framing). Previous lying correlated positively with lying on subsequent tasks.
... They also did not have to fear any positive or negative consequences of lying. Motivational and emotional aspects as for example, the expectancy of loss or gain (Schindler & Pfattheicher, 2017), the accessibility of justifications for being dishonest (Shalvi et al., 2012), or the extent of reward (Hilbig & Thielmann, 2017) can affect the prevalence of lies and could alter the way lies are processed. Experimental rigor often calls for the instruction of dishonesty as in the current experiments whereas such commands certainly are rare and a special instance of lying when it comes to real-world communication. ...
... Whereas other aspects, such as the construction of a plausible lie, the source of motivation or the intensity of a temptation to lie or tell the truth, can also play an important role in determining the occurrence and difficulty of dishonest responding (e.g., Hilbig & Thielmann, 2017; T. R. Levine et al., 2010;Schindler & Pfattheicher, 2017;Shalvi et al., 2012;Walczyk et al., 2003), the current experiments specifically targeted the described twostep process of activation and inhibition and associated control adaptation. ...
... conflicts were more likely and more easily avoided than approached (e.g., Dignath, Kiesel, & Eder, 2015). In cheating paradigms, lying was more frequent when it averted loss than when it led to gain (Schindler & Pfattheicher, 2017). In this vein, it would be interesting to establish in future research whether loss compared to gain triggers more control over the activation of the truth and its inhibition, rendering lying not only more frequent but also less challenging. ...
Thesis
Full-text available
Honest actions predominate human behavior. From time to time, this general preference must yield to dishonest actions, which require an effortful process of overcoming initial honest response activation. This thesis presents three experimental series to elucidate this tug-of-war between honest and dishonest response tendencies in overtly committed instances of lies, thereby joining recent efforts to move from a sheer phenomenological perspective on dishonest responding as being more difficult than honest responding to a precise description of the underlying cognitive processes. The consideration of cognitive theories, empirical evidence, and paradigms from different research fields – dishonesty, cognitive control and sensorimotor stage models of information processing – lay the groundwork for the research questions and methodological approach of this thesis. The experiments pinpoint the underlying conflict of dishonest responding in the central, capacity-limited stage of information processing (Experiments 1 to 4), but they also demonstrate that cognitive control processes (Experiments 5 to 7) and the internalization of false alibis (Experiments 8 to 11) can reduce or even completely eliminate this conflict. The data reveals great flexibility at the cognitive basis of dishonest responding: On the one hand, dishonest responding appears to rely heavily on capacity-limited processes of response selection to overcome honest response tendencies alongside up- and downstream consequences of response activation and monitoring. On the other hand, agents have powerful tools to mitigate these effortful processes through control adaptation and false alibis. These results support and expand current theorizing of the cognitive underpinnings of dishonest responding. Furthermore, they are alerting from an applied perspective on the detection of lies, especially when considering the flexibility of even basic cognitive processes in the face of false alibis. A promising way to move forward from here would be a fine-grained discrimination of response activation, passive decay and active inhibition of honest representations in dishonest responding and the assessment of the adaptiveness of these processes.
... Lying has also been investigated in coin-flip or die-roll tasks, where participants were paid according to their report of a random event. While Huynh (2020), Markiewicz and Czupryna (2020), Schindler and Pfattheicher (2017) and Schitter and Palan (2018) found more lying under a loss frame rather than a gain frame, no effect of frames was reported in a scenario study by Sakamoto, Laine and Farber (2013) and a die-roll study by Ezquerra, Kolev and Rodriguez-Lara (2018). Charness, Blanco-Jimenez, Esquerra and Rodriguez-Lara (2019) investigated lying under loss-and gain frames and various financial compensations. ...
... Our study provides further support for the notion that people lie not only in situations where dishonesty directly leads to preferred outcomes, but also when dishonesty merely increases the chances to obtain desired outcomes (Celse et al., 2019). Our finding that major lies prevail in a loss frame, while modest lies prevail in a gain frame further adds to a growing body of research that argues how the prospects of losses may spark unethical behavior (Cameron et al., 2008;Grolleau et al., 2016;Kern & Chugh, 2009;Kirchler & Maciejovsky, 2001;Markiewicz & Czupryna, 2020;Nagel et al., 2020;Pettit et al., 2016;Polman et al., 2020;Robben et al., 1990;Schindler & Pfattheicher, 2017;Schitter & Palan, 2018) and suggests how different motivations, such as the reduction of uncertainty, but also the desire to achieve beneficial outcomes without being responsible for the outcomes of dishonest behavior, form people's choice to engage in dishonest behavior. As a practical implication, these findings suggest several possibilities to discourage people from being dishonest, like framing situations in terms of gains rather than losses and stressing a person's responsibility for the outcome of their actions. ...
Article
We examine dishonest behavior in the face of potential uncertain gains and losses in three pre-studies (N = 150, N = 225, N = 188) and a main study (N = 240). Ample research has shown that people cheat when presented with the opportunity. We use a die-under-cup paradigm, in which participants could dishonestly report a private die roll and thereby increase the odds to obtain a desired outcome. Results showed that the framing of the uncertain situation mattered: Participants who lied to decrease the likelihood to experience a loss used major lies (i.e., reporting a ‘6’), while those who lied to increase the chance to achieve an equivalent gain used more modest lies.
... Yang et al. (2013) found that investors are more willing to pay for risky assets when sellers frame them more formally. Schindler and Pfattheicher (2017) found that individuals are more likely to cheat at economic games when doing so is framed as a way to avoid losses. Because corrupt requests are simultaneously risky, illegal, and ethically questionable, we argue that framing plays a central role in the way they are communicated (Chen & Zhang, 2016;Zmolnig, 2018). ...
... The first class of frames we investigate-which we call pro-social frames-relate to public officials' tendency to justify acts of corruption as being so harmless compared to their social benefits that it is not reasonable to say that they were an act of corruption. Insofar as public officials attempt to maximize social utility, they may be persuaded by solicitors using these frames to perceive otherwise unacceptable actions as tolerable strategies to produce social welfare (Arellano Gault, 2017;Barr & Serra, 2009;Pinto et al., 2008;Schindler & Pfattheicher, 2017). Moreover, because public officials, like most individuals, use evaluations of harm as a signal to identify unethical behavior (Feinberg, 1987;Gray et al., 2014), they may disregard or comply with ethically questionable acts so long as that they do not harm others directly. ...
Article
Full-text available
The study of the forces that lead citizens and public officials to tolerate corruption has attracted scholarly attention for decades. We seek to contribute to this literature by arguing that -since corruption is an interpersonal process- public officials’ perceptions of and dispositions toward it are influenced by how it is framed. To test this claim, we conduct an original experiment on a representative sample of civil servants working in a large urban municipal government in Mexico. We find that, even when evaluating clear examples of corruption, public officials are more likely to tolerate the illegal disregard for the bureaucratic procedure when it is framed not as a monetary exchange but as a way in which resources can be redistributed, institutions can be made more flexible, and organizations can be made more efficacious.
... Recent work revealed that people violate rules and lie more to avoid or minimize their losses (Folmer & De Cremer, 2012;Grolleau, Kocher, & Sutan, 2016;Kern & Chugh, 2009;Schindler & Pfattheicher, 2017) compared to secure or maximize their gains. It is unclear, however, whether making self-serving (vs. ...
... People violate ethical rules more to prevent or minimize losses than to secure or maximize gains (Folmer & De Cremer, 2012;Grolleau et al., 2016;Schindler & Pfattheicher, 2017; see related Van Yperen, Hamstra, & van der Klauw, 2011). For instance, Kern and Chugh (2009) had participants take the role of an entrepreneur interested in acquiring a business owned by a competitor. ...
Article
Full-text available
In ambiguous settings, people are tempted to make self-serving mistakes. Here, we assess whether people make more self-serving mistakes to minimize losses compared with maximize gains. Results reveal that participants are twice as likely to make self-serving mistakes to reduce losses compared to increase gains. We further trace participants' eye movements to gain insight into the process underlying self-serving mistakes in losses and gains. We find that tempting, self-serving information does not capture more attention in loss, compared to gain framing. Rather, in loss framing, people are more likely to report the tempting, self-serving information they observed. The results imply that rather than diverting attention away from tempting information, reducing people's motivation to make self-serving mistakes, and framing goals as gains rather than losses are promising ways to decrease the occurrence of self-serving mistakes. In turn, this fosters environments with more accuracy and fewer motivated mistakes.
... As cheating is not a socially desirable behavior, we decided to use a more anonymous and subtle paradigm to detect this behavior. This paradigm was developed from the Randomized Response Technique [50] and has been extensively used in the past to study dishonesty, e.g., [51][52][53]. In this paradigm, participants are asked to toss a coin (or a die, see e.g. ...
... In our studies, the bonus was quite high, with compensation resulting in a payment increase of, for example, 42% in Study 1 and 75% in Study 2. Arguably, such high bonuses might have invited higher levels of dishonesty in our overall sample. At the same time, it is interesting to note that reported winning probabilities in our study were only slightly lower than those in studies using similar designs, e.g., [53]. ...
Article
Full-text available
Values, beliefs, and traits differ across individuals, and these concepts might impact whether individuals choose to engage in (dis)honest behavior. This project focuses on interindividual differences in Machiavellianism, which is defined as a tendency toward cynicism and manipulativeness, and the belief that the ends justify the means. We hypothesized that trait Machiavellianism would predict dishonest behavior. Furthermore, we speculated that some situations are more conducive than others for Machiavellianism to translate into behavior. In particular, Construal Level Theory holds that individuals construe social situations on a concrete level, or an abstract level, and that an abstract construal level triggers values and value-related traits to be more influential on behavior. Against this background, we hypothesized that differences in Machiavellianism produce differences in dishonest monetary behavior when situations are construed abstractly. Four studies tested these considerations by asking participants to toss a coin and self-report the toss’ outcome. Inconsistent with our theorizing, we did not find that higher Machiavellianism is consistently associated with a higher self-reported probability of receiving an individual bonus. We also did not find consistent support that higher Machiavellianism is associated with cheating under abstract compared to concrete construal.
... No evidence that people cheated more in loss frame 6 Schindler and Pfattheicher (2017) 3 Dice-roll 86 participants (loss n = 39, gain n = 47) Gain frame: every rolled "4," they would gain 10 cents. Loss frame condition, participants read that for every rolled number except "4," they would lose 10 cents of the EUR 7.50. ...
... Lastly, the estimated proportion of illegitimate wins is 35.48% [(0.775 -0.5)/0.775]. Our findings are similar to the previous experiments conducted in the United States; namely Cameron et al. (2008), Garbarino et al. (2019), France Grolleau et al. (2016), and on an online platform Schindler and Pfattheicher (2017). These findings offer two interesting implications. ...
Article
We use the coin-flip paradigm and a short survey about moral attitudes under three conditions to answer three questions: (i) Do people cheat more when financial incentives are present in comparison with no incentives? (ii) Do they find it more difficult to maintain their ethical standards when they have been given a small amount of money? and (iii) Do moral attitudes predict cheating behavior? Using a sample of Vietnamese college students, we discover that a financial incentive does not matter until people feel that they are facing a loss. In addition, we do not find any evidence that moral attitudes could predict the unethical behavior in our sample. Our findings shed further light on cheating behaviors and loss aversion through an experimental investigation.
... Across three experiments, Kern and Chugh (2009) found that individuals would hypothetically behave unethically, like lying or gathering insider information, when presented a loss framing over a gain framing. Schindler and Pfattheicher (2017) empirically demonstrated that individuals physically engaged in dishonest behavior in loss framing games over gain framing games. Similarly, Graham et al. (2015) found that employees were more willing to engage in unethical pro-organizational behavior when inspirational and charismatic transactional leaders used a loss framing in their messages but not in a gain framing. ...
... The fear of losing incremental rewards appears to motivate higher task performance, but also higher cheating. This "double-edged sword" probably stems from lossaversion's propensity to both motivate higher performance (Bonner et al., 2000;Chon et al., 2018) and higher risk behaviors like cheating (Kern & Chugh, 2009;Kühberger, 1998;Schindler & Pfattheicher, 2017). Coupled with piece-rate incentives, which are easier to protect from loss than lump sums (Wright, 1992) and provide more moral justification for cheating behaviors related to it due to the small units (Mazar et al., 2008;Schweitzer et al., 2004), this tradeoff between performance and ethical behavior occurs. ...
Article
Setting specific, challenging goals motivates employees to exert greater effort in their jobs. However, goal-setting may have unintended consequences of also motivating unethical behavior. The present study explores these consequences in the context of other features of goal-setting in organizations, how goals are framed and rewarded, to determine the trade- off between performance and ethical behavior. Undergraduate students were incentivized to complete math problems using different outcome frames and incentive structures and were also provided an opportunity to cheat. Findings demonstrate that when goals rewarded with piece-rate incentives are framed as a loss, performance increased, though cheating behavior increased as well.
... Outro aspecto que tem se mostrado relevante para o contexto das organizações envolve uma tomada de decisão ética. Nesse âmbito, verifica-se que, em situações de potenciais perdas financeiras, as pessoas estariam mais propensas a agir de maneira desonesta se comparado a uma situação que começariam a receber os benefícios (Grolleau, Kocher, & Sutan, 2016;Modesto, 2018;Schindler & Pfattheicher, 2017). Nesse sentido, a aversão à perda favoreceu com que as pessoas optassem por decisões desonestas. ...
... Em uma perspectiva teórica, evidencia-se, com a presenta pesquisa, o potencial heurístico da aversão à perda como mecanismo automático que pode influenciar a decisão de se sobrecarregar no trabalho. Esse achado se soma a um conjunto de pesquisas que demonstram a importância de se levar em consideração o mecanismo de aversão à perda em processos decisórios (Grolleau et al., 2016;Modesto, 2018;Schindler & Pfattheicher, 2017). Em uma perspectiva mais aplicada, organizações podem, com base nesses achados, ter cautela ao expor indivíduos em processos de decisões que podem impactar negativamente tanto para o próprio indivíduo (no curto prazo), quanto para a própria organização (no médio e longo prazo). ...
Article
Full-text available
A presente pesquisa teve como objetivo avaliar o papel moderador do burnout na relação entre aversão à perda e tomada de decisão de se sobrecarregar no trabalho. Um total de 128 profissionais, com idades acima de 18 anos e inseridos no mercado de trabalho, responderam a uma medida de burnout e avaliaram um cenário de sobrecarga no trabalho. Verificou-se um efeito da aversão à perda na decisão de se sobrecarregar no trabalho, mas o burnout não moderou essa relação. Variáveis sociodemográficas também não influenciaram na tomada de decisão. Esse estudo evidencia o potencial heurístico da aversão à perda como mecanismo automático que pode influenciar a decisão de se sobrecarregar no trabalho. Assim, deve-se ter cautela ao expor indivíduos em processos de decisões visto que isso pode impactar negativamente tanto para o próprio indivíduo (no curto prazo), quanto para a própria organização (no médio e longo prazo).
... In particular, since ''losses loom larger than gains" (Kahneman & Tversky, 1979, p. 279), the same objective monetary value will translate to higher subjective utility when framed as a to-be-avoided loss rather than as an equally large gain. Indeed, individuals lie more to avoid losses than to obtain gains (Schindler & Pfattheicher, 2017), supporting that dishonest behavior increases when the subjective utility of incentives increases through framing. ...
... Therefore, in Experiment 2, we manipulated the utility of incentives through framing. First, based on prospect theory (Kahneman & Tversky, 1979;Tversky & Kahneman, 1992) and prior evidence (Schindler & Pfattheicher, 2017), we implemented a loss framing condition. In addition, we manipulated whether participants had to earn the endowment at stake through exerting cognitive effort. ...
Article
Previous research consistently showed a negative link between Honesty-Humility (HH) and dishonest behavior. However, most prior research neglected the influence of situational factors and their potential interaction with HH. In two incentivized experiments (N = 322, N = 552), we thus tested whether the (subjective) utility of incentives moderates the HH-dishonesty link. Replicating prior evidence, HH showed a consistent negative link to dishonesty. However, the utility of incentives did not moderate this association, neither when manipulated through incentive size (BF01 = 5.7) nor through gain versus loss framing (BF01 = 20.4). These results demonstrate the robustness of the HH-dishonesty link.
... In particular, some studies have indicated that proposers in the dictator or ultimatum game show a lower dislike for advantageous inequality when outcomes are framed as losses than when outcomes are framed as gains (Lusk and Hudson, 2010;Neumann et al., 2018;Fiedler and Hillenbrand, 2020). Moreover, across die-under-the-cup and coin-toss tasks, people are more motivated to cheat to avoid loss than to make gains of identical size (Van Yperen et al., 2011;Grolleau et al., 2014Grolleau et al., , 2016Schindler and Pfattheicher, 2017;Sun et al., 2017;Markiewicz and Czupryna, 2020;Markiewicz and Gawryluk, 2020). Last, individuals are more likely to approve of obtaining "insider information" in response to hypothetical scenarios (Kern and Chugh, 2009) and more prone to making selfserving mistakes in a die-roll task (Leib et al., 2019) in the loss context than in the gain context. ...
... First, previous studies have revealed that loss contexts often enhance human generosity (Baquero et al., 2013;Yin et al., 2017;Thunström, 2019;Cochard et al., 2020) but usually reduce human honesty (Van Yperen et al., 2011;Grolleau et al., 2014Grolleau et al., , 2016Schindler and Pfattheicher, 2017;Sun et al., 2017;Markiewicz and Czupryna, 2020;Markiewicz and Gawryluk, 2020). The opposite effects of losses on the two distinct social preferences could be attributed to the reason that human generosity mainly reflects intuitive responses, whereas human honesty often requires cognitive control. ...
Article
Full-text available
The role of the loss-gain context in human social decision-making remains heavily debated, with mixed evidence showing that losses (vs. gains) boost both selfish and prosocial motivations. Herein, we propose that the loss context, compared to the gain context, exacerbates intuitive reactions in response to the conflict between self-interest and prosocial preferences, regardless of whether those dominant responses are selfish or altruistic. We then synthesize evidence from three lines of research to support the account, which indicates that losses may either enhance or inhibit altruistic behaviors depending on the dominant responses in the employed interactive economic games, prosocial/proself traits, and the explicit engagement of deliberative processes. The current perspective contributes to the ongoing debate on the association between loss-gain context and human prosociality by putting forward a theoretical framework to integrate previous conflicting perspectives.
... Accumulating research has found that gain and loss frames affect unethical and selfish behavior, with the overall conclusion that a loss frame appears to foster more unethical, deceptive behavior than a gain frame (Brewer & Kramer, 1986;Cameron & Miller, 2009;Grolleau, Kocher & Sutan, 2016;Kern & Chugh, 2009;Neale & Bazerman, 1985;Pettit, Doyle, Lount Jr. & To, 2016;Robben et al., 1990;Schindler & Pfattheicher, 2017). For example, one study found that people cheated more on their taxes when facing a balance due (loss) than a refund (gain; Robben et al., 1990). ...
Article
Full-text available
Do people cheat more when they have something to gain, or when they have something to lose? The answer to this question isn't straightforward, as research is mixed when it comes to understanding how unethical people will be when they might acquire something good versus avoid something bad. To wit, research has found that people cheat more in a loss (vs. gain) frame, yet research on regulatory focus has found that people cheat more in a promotion focus (where the focus is on acquiring gains) than in a prevention focus (where the focus is on avoiding losses). Through a large-scale field study containing 332,239 observations including 27,350 transgressions, we address the contradictory results of gain/loss frames and regulatory focus on committing unethical behavior in a context that contains a high risk of detecting unethical behavior (NFL football games). Our results replicated the separate effects of more cheating in a loss frame, and more cheating in a promotion focus. Furthermore, our data revealed a heretofore undocumented crossover interaction, in accordance with regulatory fit, which could disentangle past results: Specifically, we found promotion focus is associated with more cheating in a loss (vs. gain) frame, whereas prevention focus is associated with more cheating in a gain (vs. loss) frame. In gridiron football, this translates to offensive players fouling more when their team is losing (vs. winning) and defensive players fouling more when their team is winning (vs. losing).
... In all variations of this experimental design, the participants were more inclined to cheat in order to avoid losing status rather than in order to gain status. Although several studies investigate the effect of gain and loss framing on unethical behavior, cheating in particular (Grolleau et al. 2016;Kern and Chugh 2009;Schindler and Pfattheicher 2017), the study by Pettit et al. (2016) remains the only one to date that focuses on unethical behavior in contests. ...
Article
Full-text available
Contests are widely used in business contexts because they are believed to increase the effort and performance levels of employees. One negative aspect of contests is that they may provide incentives for unethical behavior aimed at improving one's own position relative to that of competitors. It is therefore important to understand how companies should design contests so as to reduce unethical behavior without reducing the positive effects of contests on employee effort. Research from the social and behavioral sciences can offer relevant insights on this question, as in those fields competition is a subject of sustained academic interest. The aim of this review is to offer a systematic account of the growing literature on contests and unethi-cal behavior and shed light on why and when contests among employees may lead to unethical behavior. To this aim, we also develop a framework for organizing the vast, multidisciplinary literature in a structured and integrative manner. Through this endeavor, our review identifies several directions for future research.
... However, if that option was the status quo, the idea of switching may have been experienced as a potential loss. If this potential loss loomed particularly large (relative to the potential gain of starting), decision-makers may have tolerated greater negative side effects to avoid "losing" the status quo (Cameron & Miller, 2009;Grolleau, Kocher, & Sutan, 2016;Kern & Chugh, 2009;Schindler & Pfattheicher, 2017). ...
Article
To what extent are decision-makers willing to impose costs on others as they pursue their goals? The current investigation tested the hypothesis that the answer depends on whether the decision is an initial decision (whether to start) or a reassessment (whether to continue or switch from a chosen path). Decision-makers should be more likely to experience moral disengagement—to perceive lower moral standards—when contemplating continuing an option relative to choosing that option initially. They will therefore be more willing to impose costs on others for the former than for the latter. In five experiments, which tested hypothetical decisions and real decisions with material stakes, participants were more likely to impose costs on others—and believed ignoring those costs would be more morally acceptable—if they were a side effect of continuation. These results indicate that the moral psychology of continuation is marked by moral disengagement.
... Deception to avoid loss might weigh higher than deception for seeking equivalent gains (Kahneman & Tversky, 1979). In probabilistic decisions where no social/partner interaction is involved (rolling a fair six-sided die, a fair two-sided coin toss), experiencing a loss triggers more deception than gains (Schindler & Pfattheicher, 2017;Siniver & Yaniv, 2018). However, partner-deception involves dual-engagement of emotions, sensitivity to one's gain-loss and to other's gain-loss; for instance, deceiving and harming others triggers emotions such as guilt-shame (Mazar, Amir, & Ariely, 2008), this sensitivity to other's loss (in the form of gain-reduction) deters us from partner-deception (Gneezy, 2005). ...
Article
Highlights: Deception might be high in a developing country with large income disparities. Partner-deception is higher in loss frame (loss sharing) compared to gain frame (gain sharing). Unlike deception choices, dictatorial control resulted in selfish choices independent of frame. Emotion disposition and affect state selectively accounted for partner-deception in the loss frame, specifically accounting for choices where deception inflicted largest loss on the partner. Independent of mood states, emotion disposition accounted for partner-deception choice where deception inflicted largest loss on the partner. Deception might offer means to control other's outcome (e.g., partner, competitor).
... Prospect theory proposes that humans are more sensitive to losses than to reward (Kahneman & Tversky, 1979; but see Ert & Erev, 2013;Lejarraga, Schulte-Mecklenbeck, Pachur, & Hertwig, 2019;Yechiam, 2019;Yechiam & Hochman, 2013a, 2013b. Loss aversion explains why people are more willing to take risks to avoid a loss than to procure a gain (Schindler & Pfattheicher, 2017), and how penalties are more effective than reward in motivating people (Gächter, Orzen, Renner, & Starmer, 2009). However, Wentura, Müller, and Rothermund (2014) showed that there were no differences in the magnitude of attentional capture by reward-associated and loss-associated distractors (see also Grégoire, Britton, & Anderson, 2020). ...
Article
Motivated attention can be driven by the desire to maximize gains or escape punishment. In the Stroop task, when rewards can be obtained by responding quickly to certain colors, corresponding color words are prioritized and produce enhanced interference, suggesting transfer of an attentional bias from color hues to color words. In the present study, we replicated this transfer effect using reward and conducted a parallel experiment exchanging the prospect of reward (appetitive motivation) with the opportunity to avert punishment (aversive motivation). Participants were required to identify the color (hue) of color words and received electric shocks for responses to particular hues that were slow or incorrect. Shock-related words similarly impaired color-ink naming performance. In contrast to prior studies with reward, however, responding to hues associated with shock was also impaired, with threat producing an increase in error rate that ironically resulted in more frequent shocks. Our results suggest that aversive and appetitive motivation affect attention to task-relevant information differently, although each produces a common bias in automatic stimulus processing presumably driven by valence.
... Throughout all studies, the coin flip was virtual and integrated into the study to ensure that all participants would receive a random suggestion that could be automatically recorded and would not be subject to potential reporting biases (cf. research on asking participants to flip a coin and report the outcome to detect deceptive behavior, e.g., Abeler et al., 2014;Bryan et al., 2013;Schindler & Pfattheicher, 2017). ...
Article
When individuals choose between two options, one strategy they can apply is flipping a coin. Individuals might follow the coin’s suggestion without further thought. Another possibility is that they take advantage of the change in perspective that the random and clear suggestion affords. We here hypothesize that a coin flip increases forfeiture thoughts by making it salient that choosing one option means forgoing the other. We further expect more forfeiture thoughts when the coin flip’s outcome is incongruent with existing preferences. We conducted two studies (total N = 310) and found evidence that a coin flip suggestion increases forfeiture thoughts compared to a control group without a suggestion. Moreover, we found some evidence that a coin flip suggestion that is incongruent (vs. congruent) with initial preferences increases forfeiture thoughts. Congruency (vs. incongruency) also results in stronger feelings of validation. We follow up on these findings by suggesting a preregistered study that investigates both forfeiture and acquisition thoughts as well as confidence as a downstream consequence of the change initiated by the coin flip. Results, however, do not show that receiving a suggestion (neither congruent or incongruent) impacts forfeiture or acquisition thoughts compared to a control condition. Receiving a congruent (vs. incongruent) suggestion, however, results in stronger feelings of validation. We discuss these different result patterns and potential directions for future research.
... This phenomenon, known as loss aversion, has been observed in many psychological and behavioral economics studies (e.g., Neumann & Böckenholt, 2014;Ruggeri et al., 2020). Notably, this tendency substantially influences ethical judgments and moral decision-making, including those leading to dishonest behavior (e.g., Kern & Chugh, 2009;Grolleau, Kocher, & Sutan, 2016;Schindler & Pfattheicher, 2017, but see Soraperra, Weisel, & Ploner, 2019). For example, Kern and Chugh (2009) reported that participants in the loss-frame condition were more likely to favor gathering "insider information" and lying more than participants in the gain-frame condition. ...
Article
Experiments assessing the prevalence and magnitude of dishonesty have provided a large body of empirical findings regarding the cognitive nature of honesty. However, the personal factors that regulate dishonest behavior have yet to be fully clarified. This study examined two factors that potentially inhibit dishonesty—implicit attitudes toward dishonesty and executive control. In Study 1, the participants completed the Implicit Association Test (IAT), which measured their implicit attitudes toward dishonesty, and a working memory (WM) task, which was used to index executive control. The participants subsequently completed an incentivized coin-flip prediction task wherein they were given real and repeated opportunities for dishonest reward acquisition and punishment avoidance. The results revealed that individuals showing stronger negative implicit attitudes toward dishonesty engaged in a lower frequency of dishonest behavior for punishment avoidance, although this effect was marginal. In contrast, WM capacity was not associated with variations in dishonest reward acquisition and punishment avoidance. A follow-up experiment on other-serving dishonesty, where dishonest reward acquisition and punishment avoidance were credited to two other anonymous participants, revealed that neither implicit attitudes toward dishonesty nor WM capacity was associated with dishonest behavior. An additional preregistered experiment in Study 2 demonstrated that the association between implicit attitudes toward dishonesty and self-serving dishonesty for punishment avoidance was again marginal. While it is tempting to conclude that implicit attitudes toward dishonesty are associated with self-serving dishonesty, the present study provides only weak evidence that should be interpreted with great caution. Implications for the reliability of the IAT are discussed.
... In all variations of this experimental design, the participants were more inclined to cheat in order to avoid losing status rather than to gain in status. While the effect of gain versus loss framing on unethical behavior (mostly cheating) has been widely replicated (Grolleau, Kocher, and Sutan 2016;Kern and Chugh 2009;Schindler and Pfattheicher 2017), Pettit et al (2016) remains the only study that focused on contests. ...
Preprint
Contests are widely used in business contexts because competition is believed to increase effort and performance. A downside of competition is that it may also encourage unethical behavior, such as sabotage and cheating, if such behaviors can improve one’s own relative performance. Our review of the growing literature on competition and unethical behavior serves three goals. The first is to develop a simple but comprehensive conceptual framework for studying the relationship between competition and unethical behavior. This framework allows us to integrate diverse studies from various fields, including economics and psychology. The second is to use this framework for reviewing and classifying the empirical literature on competition and unethical behavior. Finally, our third goal is to use the results of our review to identify open questions and avenues for further research on competition and unethical behavior.
... Moreover, individuals exhibit more unethical behavior in situations which allow for anonymity (Chen and Wu, 2015), uncertainty and ambiguity (Schweitzer and Hsee, 2002) and where they perceive a lower level of interactional justice (Aquino et al., 1999). Also, people cheat more in order to avoid a loss than to extract a gain (Schindler and Pfattheicher, 2017), or when loss framing is done for piece-rate-based goals (Nagel et al., 2021). In terms of an organization's ethical climate, employee-centered environments experience lower political deviance (e.g., nepotism, social undermining); a weak focus on rules and regulations leads to higher property deviance (i.e., misuse of organizational assets); and in organizations where employees are highly self-centered, there are greater instances of production deviance (i.e., mild organization-directed deviance; Peterson, 2002). ...
Article
Full-text available
Employee cheating at the workplace has reached epidemic proportions and is putting a significant dent on the revenues of corporations. This study evaluates workplace cheating behavior as a consequence of supervisor bottom-line mentality with performance pressure as the mediating mechanism. Most importantly, it scrutinizes the moderating function of negative reciprocity belief in the relation between bottom-line mentality, performance pressure, and cheating in a moderated-mediation model, through the lens of displaced aggression theory. We systematically conduct time-lagged studies in two different populations (Pakistan and United States). Data analysis reveals that (1) bottom-line mentality positively influences workplace cheating behavior through performance pressure and (2) negative reciprocity moderated this indirect relationship. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.
... In less than a week, Niantic (the developer) earn 14 Million USD in revenue even though the game itself is free (hence the terms freemium games), the revenue comes from the optional purchases inside the game. This business model is very popular and wiped out the old business model [39] where player needs to buy the game to enjoy the full game (paid games) while in the same time, it shows how the power of gamers community in terms of buying their needs which has been exploited by the freemium game with lootbox industry by make the game itself painful and offering a painless solution with the purchase of freemium items [24,26,29,37,42,43]. A gamer from Indonesia for example, is willing to spend almost 66.000 USD for a single item in Ragnarok Eternal Love, one of the online video game for mobile [28]. ...
... [8] This refers to people's tendency to prefer avoiding losses to acquiring equivalent gains. [9,10] This is a widespread psychological phenomenon and something that the refractive surgeon must be aware of. If you consider cataract surgery, the management of macular degeneration and glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy, these have all shown spectacular results in limiting blindness but are all about negating loss and this is why they are covered by insurance or the state. ...
... 12 It also accounts for the potential effect of loss aversion, as buying the Good Lottery is costly but does not imply an honest success with certainty. The literature typically finds more cheating in the loss domain than in the gain domain (e.g., Grolleau et al. 2016 or Schindler andPfattheicher 2017), with an increasing propensity to cheat the less likely the bad outcome is (Garbarino et al. 2019). Therefore, the lying rate in the group 'Good Lottery-self-selected' may have an upward bias (that runs against our prediction). ...
Article
Full-text available
We study self-selection into earning money in an honest or dishonest fashion based on individuals’ attitudes toward truthful reporting. We propose a decision-theoretic framework where individuals’ willingness to pay for honest earnings is determined by their (behavioral) lying costs. Our laboratory experiment identifies lying costs as the decisive factor causing self-selection into honest earning opportunities for individuals with high costs and into cheating opportunities for those prepared to misreport. Our experimental setup allows us to recover individual lying costs and their distribution in the population.
... See, for instance,Davis et al., (2010) andKassa et al. (2012).22 Prospect theory argues that downside changes are far more powerful than upside changes(Ang et al., 2006;Kahneman and Tversky, 1979;Schindler and Pfattheicher, 2017). ...
Article
Full-text available
Increased deployment of agricultural extension agents (EAs) in rural areas is recommended to spur agricultural productivity and mitigate spatial imbalances in welfare. However, high turnover and low motivation levels of EAs in remote areas pose challenges for equitable service provision and, in some cases, exacerbate geographical welfare disparities. We assess the effectiveness of selected potential policy interventions to incentivise and retain EAs in remote areas of Ethiopia. To this end, we conducted a choice experiment to elicit the preferences of 761 EAs for job attributes. We apply a random parameters logit model to estimate parameters of interest and to simulate the impact of possible policy interventions. Our results show that offering education opportunities is by far the most powerful instrument to attract and retain EAs. It increases uptake of the extension job in remote locations by 77 percentage points, which is significantly higher than the effect from doubling current salary levels. EAs also expressed a strong preference for work environments with basic amenities, housing, transportation services, and well‐equipped Farmer Training Centres (FTCs). Furthermore, the results from sub‐sample analyses show that female EAs are less responsive to pecuniary incentives and are more concerned with the availability of infrastructure and amenities. Current salary levels, years of employment, and location of work are also important sources of heterogeneity in the response of EAs to potential policy changes.
... Additionally, it has been demonstrated that avoiding a loss is a stronger incentive to behave dishonestly than gaining rewards (Schindler & Pfattheicher, 2017). Second, the adapted version allows us to observe what the participants actually threw and reported at an individual level. ...
Article
Full-text available
The proposed experiment will examine the effect of deceptive behavior on memory. Participants will be assigned to a “strong-incentive to cheat” or “weak-incentive to cheat” condition and play the adapted Sequential Dyadic Die-Rolling paradigm. Specifically, Player A (computer; participants think it is another participant) throws a die and reports it to Player B (participant). Then Player B throws his/her die, remembers the outcome, and reports it to Player A. Participants in the “strong-incentive to cheat” condition are monetarily punished if their die roll outcome differs from Player A's die roll outcome. Participants in the “weak-incentive to cheat” condition are not punished if the die roll outcomes differ. Two-days later, memory for the die-rolling event will be assessed. We predict that participants in the “strong-incentive to cheat” condition will have lower belief and recollection for the die-rolling event and will report more errors than participants in the “weak-incentive to cheat” condition.
Book
In der Politischen Kommunikation sind Frames allgegenwärtig, da die politische Realität oft spezifisch konstruiert wird. Kommunikatoren setzen dabei ihre Information in einen bestimmten Deutungsrahmen, um gewisse Stimmungen zu verbreiten. Sie ‚framen‘ damit das Thema gezielt und wollen so die Debatte um die jeweilige Angelegenheit leiten oder zumindest mitbestimmen. Dieses Lehrbuch bietet eine Einführung in das Verständnis von Frames und Framing-Strategien, es liefert eine Übersicht der Inhalte der vielfältigen und breitgefächerten Framing-Forschung sowie eine Grundlage für das wissenschaftliche Arbeiten mit Frames. Der Inhalt • Frames und Framing • Framing als strategische Tätigkeit • Techniken des strategischen Medien-Framings • Ideologien und Frames • Die Methode der Frame-Analyse Die Zielgruppen Studierende, Lehrende, Politiker, Beratungen, Kommunikationspraktiker Der Autor Dr. Michael Oswald ist Akademischer Rat am Lehrstuhl für Politikwissenschaft der Universität Passau, Associate Research Fellow und Lehrbeauftragter am John F. Kennedy Institut der Freien Universität Berlin und Faculty-Member bei CIFE (Int. Zentrum für Europäische Bildung).
Article
Much is known about the effects of risk on behavior and communication, yet little research has considered how these risk influence modes of cultural and cognitive processing dynamics that underlie public perceptions, communications, and social in(action). This article presents a psychological model of risk communications that demonstrates how cognitive structure, cultural schema, and environment awareness could be combined to improve risk communication. We illustrate the explanatory value of the model's usefulness on two qualitative case studies: one on decision makers facing extreme heat, and another on homeowners facing flood events. Consistent with the model predictions, we find that cognitive structure, cultural schema, and environment awareness dynamics are not only necessary determinants to strengthen risk communications, but also important for understanding perceptions of risk and people's in(action) to engage in mitigation and adoption efforts. This suggests that decision makers hoping to reduce disaster risk or improve disaster resilience may wish to consider how these three dynamics exist and interact.
Article
Full-text available
According to Demeter (2015) over the past fourty years, scientists, engineers, philosophers, and psychologists have been concerned with the infinite number of social, economic, and physical issues that exist and that cannot be dealt with in isolation. As agruged by Wong, Luo, and Fong (2019) it has been found through experiments and piloting techniques that the existing traditional methods and knowledge is not suited into coping and addressing the unique and sophisticated situations. In the process of searching and coming up with techniques such the use of Bernoulli’s principle for aerodynamics and aviation, perturbation techniques, and the nonlinear approximation methods, it was discovered that physics, chemistry, and mathematics brings out a limited area of interest and therefore can only offer solutions to problems in narrow perspectives. For example, the aforementioned disciplines majorly concentrated on a particular subject of interest and use limited principles towards solving the identified problem, that is to say, a significant number of assumptions are brought into play in order to help in arriving at the intended destinations. Notably, the techniques applied in solving scientific problems do not regard competing frameworks and this contributed to their limited nature in solving social and physical problems. As suggested by Leaver,Willson, and Torres (2016) it is against this backdrop that, framing of a problem through gaming techniques in subject content areas is being encouraged since it involves competing frameworks and consequently works to reduce the number of assumptions plunged in the process of solving mathematical problem. Gaming techniques entails the combination of various techniques that can deal with adversities, uncertainty, unique, and sophisticated situations in the field of science. Fundamentally, framing of a problem through gaming tricks provides an advantage of combining the social-human with economic, technological, and physical domains. The outcome associated with the gaming technique is scientific improvements and increased applications of the available knowledge and information (Wong, Luo, and Fong, 2019).
Article
Reminding people to behave honestly or asking them to actively commit to honest behavior is an easily implementable intervention to reduce dishonesty. Earlier research has shown that such truth pledges affect lying behavior on a group level. In this study we are analyzing how a truth pledge changes the distribution of lying types which have been established in the literature, i.e. truth tellers, partial liars and extreme liars, to better understand whether truth pledges can affect the decision to lie or merely the extent of lies. For this purpose, we conduct a 2 × 2 experiment with 484 participants in which we apply a truth pledge in a gain and a loss frame. We introduce a novel “Even-Odd task” for online lying experiments, which is based on the well-established coin-toss design. The Even-Odd task takes into account that unbiased, physical randomization devices are not always available in online settings, which can be a problem for truth-tellers if they are bad mental randomizers. We therefore ask participants to think of privately known numbers (house numbers, phone numbers) and then determine randomly whether even or uneven numbers result in the higher payment. We find that the truth pledge significantly reduces lying but also that this effect is strongest for extreme liars. The uneven shift in the distribution of liars suggests that truth pledges are effective in decreasing the size of lies but not the number of lies told. This result is robust for both frames.
Article
This paper explores how loss-framed incentives affect behavior in a multitasking environment in which participants have more than one way of recovering (expected) losses. In a real-effort laboratory experiment, we offer participants task incentives that are framed as either a reward (gain) or penalty (loss). We study their responses along three dimensions: performance in the incentivized task, theft, and voluntary provision of help. We find that framing incentives as a penalty rather than as a reward does not significantly improve task performance, but it increases theft and leads to a small and insignificant reduction in the share of participants willing to help the experimenter. Secondary analyses based on our theoretical framework help us pin down the mechanism at play and suggest that loss aversion drives participants’ response. Our findings have important implications for incentive design in practice. This paper was accepted by Axel Ockenfels, behavioral economics and decision analysis.
Article
The present paper reports the results of an experiment which studied the effects of parents’ marital status (divorced or non-divorced) and psychological counseling (administered or not) on the honesty level of kindergarten children. Data on marital status and psychological counseling was anonymously provided by the kindergarten teachers and children's level of honesty was assessed by a flip-coin task which rewarded a self-reported favorable outcome. The experiment gave rise to two major results: first, children of divorced parents are less honest than children of non-divorced parents and second, psychological counseling helps improve honesty among children of divorced parents but fails to do so among children of non-divorced parents. No gender effect was found.
Article
A common conclusion of lab dishonesty studies is that subjects cheat to a very modest extent even when they cannot get caught. The modest level of cheating is attributed to subjects’ moral feelings which restrict their cheating to a level that enables them to retain their self-image as honest individuals. The present paper questions this claim, reporting the results of two experiments which uncover a discrepancy between self-portrayed honesty and actual dishonest behavior. The experiments reveal, first, that self-portrayed honesty is stricter than practical honesty, suggesting that when facing an opportunity to benefit from dishonest behavior, subjects trade off some of their self-image as honest persons for dishonestly-generated payoffs. Secondly, dishonesty out of lab, in subjects’ self-chosen environment, is greater than in the lab, with a considerable fraction of subjects cheating to the maximum extent possible. We suggest that it is not a concern about their self-image that holds subjects back from cheating maximally, but rather a concern about their social image. The modest level of dishonesty observed in the lab presumably reflects caution subjects exercise in an unsafe setup. Given an environment where they feel safe to reap the fruits of dishonesty without compromising their image as honest persons in the eyes of others, the image they have of themselves hardly plays a role in curbing their unethical behavior.
Article
Full-text available
We revisit two fundamental motivations of dishonesty: financial incentives and probability of detection. We use an ability-based real effort task in which participants who are college students in India can cheat by over reporting the number of puzzles they could solve in a given period of time. The puzzles are all unsolvable and this fact is unknown to participants. This design feature allows us to obtain the distribution of cheating outcomes at the individual level. Controlling for participant attributes, we find that introducing piece-rate financial incentives lowers both the likelihood and magnitude of cheating only for individuals with a positive probability of detection. On the other hand, a decrease in the probability of detection to zero increases magnitude of cheating only for individuals receiving piece-rate incentives. Moreover, we observe that participants cheat significantly even in the absence of piece-rate incentives indicating that affective benefits may determine cheating. Finally, an increase in own perceived wealth status vis-à-vis one’s peers is associated with a higher likelihood of cheating while feeling more satisfied with one’s current economic state is associated with a lower magnitude of cheating.
Preprint
Full-text available
We revisit two fundamental motivations of dishonesty: financial incentives and probability of detection. We use an ability-based real effort task in which participants who are college students in India can cheat by over reporting the number of puzzles they could solve in a given period of time. The puzzles are all unsolvable and this fact is unknown to participants. This design feature allows us to obtain the distribution of cheating outcomes at the individual level. Controlling for participant attributes, we find that introducing piece-rate financial incentives lowers both the likelihood and magnitude of cheating only for individuals with a positive probability of detection. On the other hand, a decrease in the probability of detection to zero increases magnitude of cheating only for individuals receiving piece-rate incentives. Moreover, we observe that participants cheat significantly even in the absence of piece-rate incentives indicating that affective benefits may determine cheating. Finally, an increase in own perceived wealth status vis-à-vis one’s peers is associated with a higher likelihood of cheating while feeling more satisfied with one’s current economic state is associated with a lower magnitude of cheating.
Article
Do observers judge differently a wrongdoer when s/he does not exploit a situation to its maximum extent? Using a social intuitionist perspective and taking into account the reference point bias, we hypothesize that people will judge a wrongdoing less severely when the situation is not exploited to its fullest extent. We run two experimental surveys in France and examine whether various wrongdoings performed in the business realm (overcharging travel expenses, overstating work hours, pollution) are judged less severely when different reference points are suggested: (i) no explicit reference point is mentioned, (ii) a reference point is mentioned and the maximum extent is reached, (iii) a reference point is mentioned but the maximum extent is not reached and (iv) the participant is invited to elicit a reference point corresponding to what s/he considers as the maximum extent. Our findings support that participants judge a wrongdoer less severely, when a reference point mentioning that s/he has not exploited the situation to its fullest extent is indicated or elicited. Our findings suggest that partial cheaters could emphasize their self-restraint to mitigate judgment and punishment if they get caught. We draw some managerial and policy implications.
Article
Power has long been associated with corruption, yet most evidence has been linked to abuses for gains (money, resources, sex). In this article, we propose a conceptual framework that considers unethical conduct to obtain gains and to avoid losses. Following the situated focus theory of power (Guinote, 2007), we propose that power flexibly orients individuals’ cognitions and efforts in line with active goals. Under a gains frame, compared to the powerless, the powerful should be more motivated to obtain gains and cheat more, in order to protect these gains. Under a loss frame, the powerful should experience a temporary activation of loss aversion goals, while the powerless should experience a chronic activation of loss aversion goals. Consequently, power differences in corruption levels should only occur for gains and not when losses are at stake. The effects of power and frame were demonstrated in one study (N = 321). The findings provided initial evidence supporting the notion that an understanding of the effects of power on corruption necessitates a consideration of contextual framing.
Article
Corruption is a global problem. Despite the importance of this theme, a shortage of theoretical models in both psychology and related areas that favor its understanding and investigation is noted. Due to this scarcity of theoretical models, in addition to the need to systematize studies on the topic, this theoretical article aims to describe the Analytical Model of Corruption (AMC) as an interdisciplinary and multilevel proposal aimed at corruption analysis. To achieve this goal, the concept of corruption was analyzed using related phenomena as reference. Similarities and differences in corruption have been identified with dishonest behavior and unethical behavior. Subsequently, theoretical models on corruption identified in the literature were presented, and their main characteristics and limitations were pointed out. After describing the models, the AMC was presented and its advantages over the previous models were discussed. Finally, it was concluded that the AMC could be configured as a theoretical model that guides interdisciplinary studies on corruption, allowing for a more complete analysis compared to previous theoretical models identified in the literature.
Article
Full-text available
There is evidence that human decision-making is affected by current body energy levels and physiological states. There is less clear evidence linking decision-making to long-term changes in energy, as those associated with obesity. We explore the link between energy, obesity and dishonesty by comparing the behaviour of obese and lean subjects when hungry or sated while playing an anonymous die-under-cup task. Participants performed the task either before or after breakfast. We find that short-term switches in energy have only a mild effect on dishonesty, as only lean females lie less when sated. By contrast, obese subjects lie more than lean subjects in both conditions, and they lie more to avoid the lowest payoff than to get the highest payoff. Our findings suggest that the observed patterns are more likely mediated by factors associated with obesity than by short term energy dynamics, and call for a better integration of the psychological, economic and biological drivers of moral behaviour.
Purpose The purpose of this study is to test various hypotheses regarding if managers' voluntarily prefer honesty in self-reported managerial performance (HPR). Design/methodology/approach This study uses an experimental approach with a data set of 300 Ghanaian employees. Findings The results confirm that the current trend where employee contracts are underpinned by the classical agency theory (CAT) is problematic, ineffective and costly because it does not appropriately explain the observed behaviour of honesty and partial honesty in self-reported performance or the dishonesty in reporting performance when there is no financial reward to be gained by employees. Therefore MNCs may benefit from a consideration of wider and alternative perspectives. Additionally, stakeholders must consider a strategy of delaying performance-related bonuses (pay-offs) to improve HPR and avoid capping performance-related pay off with an arbitrary threshold. This is because the setting of arbitrary thresholds reduces the established relationship between effort and reward and introduces gaming into the managerial performance reporting process. Originality/value Unlike other prior studies that rely on students as surrogates for employees, this study uses actual employees to test the experimental constructs. Aside from the comparatively large data set, this study is the first exploration of the differential effects of national characteristics on HPR in Ghana.
Article
Full-text available
We revisit two fundamental motivations of dishonesty: financial incentives and probability of detection. We use an ability-based real effort task in which participants who are college students in India can cheat by over reporting the number of puzzles they could solve in a given period of time. The puzzles are all unsolvable and this fact is unknown to participants. This design feature allows us to obtain the distribution of cheating outcomes at the individual level. Controlling for participant attributes, we find that introducing piece-rate financial incentives lowers both the likelihood and magnitude of cheating only for individuals with a positive probability of detection. On the other hand, a decrease in the probability of detection to zero increases magnitude of cheating only for individuals receiving piece-rate incentives. Moreover, we observe that participants cheat significantly even in the absence of piece-rate incentives indicating that affective benefits may determine cheating. Finally, an increase in own perceived wealth status vis-à-vis one’s peers is associated with a higher likelihood of cheating while feeling more satisfied with one’s current economic state is associated with a lower magnitude of cheating.
Technical Report
Full-text available
Background: To begin our research into the effects of human decision-making bias in cyber security, we explored an extensive list of decision-making biases, focusing on those with rigorous scientific research and robust empirical findings. From this literature review, a list was created of 87 biases along with definitions, study examples, and references for major and related works. These were presented to the cyber security professionals who related cyber examples. These examples are being compiled into a document that will be submitted for peer-review. While the list presented here is not exhaustive, we believe the survey of relevant biases detailed in the spreadsheet can provide utility to the community.
Article
Prospect theory is often used to predict individuals’ risky tax decisions. For example, individuals who are in a tax due (refund) position are predicted to engage in more (less) tax noncompliance. This is known as the “withholding phenomenon”. However, tax noncompliance is not just risky, it is also unethical. We hypothesize that because there is an ethical component inherent in this risky decision, the feelings described by prospect theory are insufficient to cause increased risk-seeking. In a series of experiments, we show that moral disengagement is the primary theoretical mechanism that explains noncompliant tax behavior. The feelings evoked from being in a loss domain provide motivation for individuals to morally disengage, while moral disengagement is directly related to noncompliant tax behavior. We also develop an intervention that deters individuals from morally disengaging, specifically when they are in a tax due position. These results have important practical and theoretical implications.
Article
Full-text available
Students were given exams 1 with no incentives, 2 where pretests counted as half the exam grade, and 3 where pretest was extra credit. Scores were worst with no incentive (55%) while negative (68%) and positive (69%) motivators produced equal scores. Over 80% of the students took pretest to avoid hurting their grade but none of them (0%) took the pretests enough to maximize their extra credit. It is suggested that professors increase student preparation for exams by offering point incentives but that positive motivators are preferable since negative motivators did not further increase scores.
Article
Full-text available
One type of paradigm commonly used in studies on unethical behavior implements a lottery, relying on a randomization device to determine winnings while ensuring that the randomized outcome is only known to participants. Thereby, participants have the incentive and opportunity to cheat by anonymously claiming to have won. Data obtained in such a way are often analyzed using the observed "win" responses as a proxy for actual dishonesty. However, because the observed "win" response is contaminated by honest respondents who actually won, such an approach only allows for inferring dishonesty indirectly and leads to substantially underestimated effects. As a remedy, we outline approaches to estimate correlations between dishonesty and other variables, as well as to predict dishonesty in a modified logistic regression model. Using both simulated and empirical data, we demonstrate the superiority and relevance of the suggested methods.
Article
Full-text available
There is considerable current debate about the need for replication in the science of social psychology. Most of the current discussion and approbation is centered on direct or exact replications, the attempt to conduct a study in a manner as close to the original as possible. We focus on the value of conceptual replications, the attempt to test the same theoretical process as an existing study, but that uses methods that vary in some way from the previous study. The tension between the two kinds of replication is a tension of values—exact replications value confidence in operationalizations; their requirement tends to favor the status quo. Conceptual replications value confidence in theory; their use tends to favor rapid progress over ferreting out error. We describe the many ways in which conceptual replications can be superior to direct replications. We further argue that the social system of science is quite robust to these threats and is self-correcting.
Article
Full-text available
We study if taxpayers are loss averse when filing returns. Preliminary deficits might be viewed as losses assuming zero preliminary balances as reference points. Swedish taxpayers can to try to escape such losses by claiming deductions after receiving information about the preliminary balance. Using a regression kink and discontinuity approach, we study data for 3.6 million Swedish taxpayers for 2006. There are strong causal effects of preliminary tax deficits on the probability of claiming deductions. Compliance will increase and auditing costs will be reduced if preliminary taxes are calibrated so that most taxpayers receive refunds.
Article
Full-text available
The randomized response (RR) technique was developed to improve the validity of measures assessing attitudes, behaviors, and attributes threatened by social desirability bias. The RR removes any direct link between individual responses and the sensitive attribute to maximize the anonymity of respondents and, in turn, to elicit more honest responding. Since multivariate analyses are no longer feasible using standard methods, we present the R package RRreg that allows for multivariate analyses of RR data in a user-friendly way. We show how to compute bivariate correlations, how to predict an RR variable in an adapted logistic regression framework (with or without random effects), and how to use RR predictors in a modified linear regression. In addition, the package allows for power analysis and robustness simulations. To facilitate the application of these methods, we illustrate the benefits of multivariate methods for RR variables using an empirical example. Link to CRAN: http://cran.r-project.org/web/packages/RRreg/ JSS Paper: https://www.jstatsoft.org/article/view/v085i02
Article
Full-text available
Evidence suggests that whether or not people dislike lying is situation-dependent. We argue that the theory of simple guilt can accommodate this well.
Article
Full-text available
In recent years, a growing number of researchers have examined the watching eyes phenomenon (i.e., increased prosocial and decreased antisocial behavior when subtle watching eyes are present in the environment). Somewhat surprisingly, the questions how and under what conditions subtle cues of being watched operate have been unanswered so far. The present contribution addresses this research gap. In two studies we document that (a) subtle cues of being watched induce a sense of being seen and (b) chronic public self-awareness moderates the watching eyes phenomenon in that specifically individuals with strong chronic public self-awareness show more prosocial behavior under conditions of watching eyes. The applicability of subtle cues of being watched in research on social presence is discussed.
Article
Full-text available
A central assumption in economics is that people misreport their private information if this is to their material benefit. Several recent models depart from this assumption and posit that some people do not lie or at least do not lie maximally. These models invoke many different underlying motives including intrinsic lying costs, altruism, efficiency concerns, or conditional cooperation. To provide an empirically-validated microfoundation for these models, it is crucial to understand the relevance of the different potential motives. We measure the extent of lying costs among a representative sample of the German population by calling them at home. In our setup, participants have a clear monetary incentive to misreport, misreporting cannot be detected, reputational concerns are negligible and altruism, efficiency concerns or conditional cooperation cannot play a role. Yet, we find that aggregate reporting behavior is close to the expected truthful distribution suggesting that lying costs are large and widespread. Further lab experiments show that this result is not driven by the mode of communication.
Article
Full-text available
Does everybody lie? A dominant view is that lying is part of everyday social interaction. Recent research, however, has claimed, that robust individual differences exist, with most people reporting that they do not lie, and only a small minority reporting very frequent lying. In this study, we found most people to subjectively report little or no lying. Importantly, we found self-reports of frequent lying to positively correlate with real-life cheating and psychopathic tendencies. Our findings question whether lying is normative and common among most people, and instead suggest that most people are honest most of the time and that a small minority lies frequently.
Article
Full-text available
Psychological scientists have recently started to reconsider the importance of close replications in building a cumulative knowledge base; however, there is no consensus about what constitutes a convincing close replication study. To facilitate convincing close replication attempts we have developed a Replication Recipe, outlining standard criteria for a convincing close replication. Our Replication Recipe can be used by researchers, teachers, and students to conduct meaningful replication studies and integrate replications into their scholarly habits.
Article
Full-text available
Recent controversies in psychology have spurred conversations about the nature and quality of psychological research. One topic receiving substantial attention is the role of replication in psychological science. Using the complete publication history of the 100 psychology journals with the highest 5-year impact factors, the current article provides an overview of replications in psychological research since 1900. This investigation revealed that roughly 1.6% of all psychology publications used the term replication in text. A more thorough analysis of 500 randomly selected articles revealed that only 68% of articles using the term replication were actual replications, resulting in an overall replication rate of 1.07%. Contrary to previous findings in other fields, this study found that the majority of replications in psychology journals reported similar findings to their original studies (i.e., they were successful replications). However, replications were significantly less likely to be successful when there was no overlap in authorship between the original and replicating articles. Moreover, despite numerous systemic biases, the rate at which replications are being published has increased in recent decades. © The Author(s) 2012.
Article
Full-text available
Studies addressing sensitive issues often yield distorted prevalence estimates due to socially desirable responding. Several techniques have been proposed to reduce this bias, including indirect questioning, psychophysiological lie detection, and bogus pipeline procedures. However, the increase in resources required by these techniques is warranted only if there is a substantial increase in validity as compared to direct questions. Convincing demonstration of superior validity necessitates the availability of a criterion reflecting the "true" prevalence of a sensitive attribute. Unfortunately, such criteria are notoriously difficult to obtain, which is why validation studies often proceed indirectly by simply comparing estimates obtained with different methods. Comparative validation studies, however, provide weak evidence only since the exact increase in validity (if any) remains unknown. To remedy this problem, we propose a simple method that allows for measuring the "true" prevalence of a sensitive behavior experimentally. The basic idea is to elicit normatively problematic behavior in a way that ensures conclusive knowledge of the prevalence rate of this behavior. This prevalence measure can then serve as an external validation criterion in a second step. An empirical demonstration of this method is provided.
Article
Full-text available
People who feel continuity with their future selves are more likely to behave in ethically responsible ways as compared to people who lack continuity with their future selves. We find that individual differences in perceived similarity to one's future self predicts tolerance of unethical business decisions (Studies la and 1b), and that the consideration of future consequences mediates the extent to which people regard inappropriate negotiation strategies as unethical (Study 2). We reveal that low future self-continuity predicts unethical behavior in the form of lies, false promises, and cheating (Studies 3 and 4), and that these relationships hold when controlling for general personality dimensions and trait levels of self-control (Study 4). Finally, we establish a causal relationship between future self-continuity and ethical judgments by showing that when people are prompted to focus on their future self (as opposed to the future), they express more disapproval of unethical behavior (Study 5).
Article
Full-text available
This research proposes that the concept of emotional attachment, and specifically the independent constructs of psychological ownership and affective reaction, can help explain many of the endowment effect findings documented in the literature. We define these constructs and then test them across a set of nine studies in which we both replicate previous and generate new endowment effect findings, and then show that psychological ownership and affective reaction can mediate the effects. In doing so, we offer direct empirical support for the idea of emotional attachment as a driver of loss aversion while also providing practitioners and future endowment effect researchers with new insights about the psychological processes that underlie the endowment effect.
Article
Full-text available
This article derives the power curves for a Wald test that can be applied to randomized response models when small prevalence rates must be assessed (e.g., detecting doping behavior among elite athletes). These curves enable the assessment of the statistical power that is associated with each model (e.g., Warner's model, crosswise model, unrelated question model, forced-choice models, item count model, cheater detection model). This power analysis can help in choosing the optimal model and sample size and in setting model parameters in survey studies. The general framework can be applied to all existing randomized response model versions. The Appendix of this article contains worked-out numerical examples to demonstrate the power analysis for each specific model. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved).
Article
Full-text available
We hypothesize that there is a general bias, based on both innate predispositions and experience, in animals and humans, to give greater weight to negative entities (e.g., events, objects, personal traits). This is manifested in 4 ways: (a) negative potency (negative entities are stronger than the equivalent positive entities), (b) steeper negative gradients (the negativity of negative events grows more rapidly with approach to them in space or time than does the positivity of positive events, (c) negativity dominance (combinations of negative and positive entities yield evaluations that are more negative than the algebraic sum of individual subjective valences would predict), and (d) negative differentiation (negative entities are more varied, yield more complex conceptual representations, and engage a wider response repertoire). We review evidence for this taxonomy, with emphasis on negativity dominance, including literary, historical, religious, and cultural sources, as well as the psychological literatures on learning, attention, impression formation, contagion, moral judgment, development, and memory. We then consider a variety of theoretical accounts for negativity bias. We suggest that I feature of negative events that make them dominant is that negative entities are more contagious than positive entities.
Article
Full-text available
Dishonesty plays a large role in the economy. Causes for (dis)honest behavior seem to be based partially on external rewards, and partially on internal rewards. Here, we investigate how such external and internal rewards work in concert to produce (dis)honesty. We propose and test a theory of self-concept maintenance that allows people to engage to some level in dishonest behavior, thereby benefiting from external benefits of dishonesty, while maintaining their positive view about themselves in terms of being honest individuals. The results show that (1) given the opportunity to engage in beneficial dishonesty, people will engage in such behaviors; (2) the amount of dishonesty is largely insensitive to either the expected external benefits or the costs associated with the deceptive acts; (3) people know about their actions but do not update their self-concepts; (4) causing people to become more aware of their internal standards for honesty decreases their tendency for deception; and (5) increasing the "degrees of freedom" that people have to interpret their actions increases their tendency for deception. We suggest that dishonesty governed by self-concept maintenance is likely to be prevalent in the economy, and understanding it has important implications for designing effective methods to curb dishonesty.Former working paper titles:“(Dis)Honesty: A Combination of Internal and External Rewards” and "Almost Honest: Internal and External Motives for Honesty")
Article
Full-text available
The greater power of bad events over good ones is found in everyday events, major life events (e.g., trauma), close relationship outcomes, social network patterns, interpersonal interactions, and learning processes. Bad emotions, bad parents, and bad feedback have more impact than good ones, and bad information is processed more thoroughly than good. The self is more motivated to avoid bad self-definitions than to pursue good ones. Bad impressions and bad stereotypes are quicker to form and more resistant to disconfirmation than good ones. Various explanations such as diagnosticity and salience help explain some findings, but the greater power of bad events is still found when such variables are controlled. Hardly any exceptions (indicating greater power of good) can be found. Taken together, these findings suggest that bad is stronger than good, as a general principle across a broad range of psychological phenomena.
Article
Full-text available
Loss aversion in choice is commonly assumed to arise from the anticipation that losses have a greater effect on feelings than gains, but evidence for this assumption in research on judged feelings is mixed. We argue that loss aversion is present in judged feelings when people compare gains and losses and assess them on a common scale. But many situations in which people judge and express their feelings lack these features. When judging their feelings about an outcome, people naturally consider a context of similar outcomes for comparison (e.g., they consider losses against other losses). This process permits gains and losses to be normed separately and produces psychological scale units that may not be the same in size or meaning for gains and losses. Our experiments show loss aversion in judged feelings for tasks that encourage gain-loss comparisons, but not tasks that discourage them, particularly those using bipolar scales.
Article
Full-text available
G*Power is a free power analysis program for a variety of statistical tests. We present extensions and improvements of the version introduced by Faul, Erdfelder, Lang, and Buchner (2007) in the domain of correlation and regression analyses. In the new version, we have added procedures to analyze the power of tests based on (1) single-sample tetrachoric correlations, (2) comparisons of dependent correlations, (3) bivariate linear regression, (4) multiple linear regression based on the random predictor model, (5) logistic regression, and (6) Poisson regression. We describe these new features and provide a brief introduction to their scope and handling.
Article
Private information is at the heart of many economic activities. For decades, economists have assumed that individuals are willing to misreport private information if this maximizes their material payoff. We combine data from 90 experimental studies in economics, psychology, and sociology, and show that, in fact, people lie surprisingly little. We then formalize a wide range of potential explanations for the observed behavior, identify testable predictions that can distinguish between the models, and conduct new experiments to do so. Our empirical evidence suggests that a preference for being seen as honest and a preference for being honest are the main motivations for truth‐telling.
Article
In 3 studies, the authors demonstrated that individuals are motivated by role models who encourage strategies that fit their regulatory concerns: Promotion-focused individuals, who favor a strategy of pursuing desirable outcomes, are most inspired by positive role models, who highlight strategies for achieving success; prevention-focused individuals, who favor a strategy of avoiding undesirable outcomes, are most motivated by negative role models, who highlight strategies for avoiding failure. In Studies 1 and 2, the authors primed promotion and prevention goals and then examined the impact of role models on motivation. Participants' academic motivation was increased by goal-congruent role models but decreased by goal-incongruent role models. In Study 3, participants were more likely to generate real-life role models that matched their chronic goals.
Article
Deception is common in nature and humans are no exception. Modern societies have created institutions to control cheating, but many situations remain where only intrinsic honesty keeps people from cheating and violating rules. Psychological, sociological and economic theories suggest causal pathways to explain how the prevalence of rule violations in people's social environment, such as corruption, tax evasion or political fraud, can compromise individual intrinsic honesty. Here we present cross-societal experiments from 23 countries around the world that demonstrate a robust link between the prevalence of rule violations and intrinsic honesty. We developed an index of the 'prevalence of rule violations' (PRV) based on country-level data from the year 2003 of corruption, tax evasion and fraudulent politics. We measured intrinsic honesty in an anonymous die-rolling experiment(5). We conducted the experiments with 2,568 young participants (students) who, due to their young age in 2003, could not have influenced PRV in 2003. We find individual intrinsic honesty is stronger in the subject pools of low PRV countries than those of high PRV countries. The details of lying patterns support psychological theories of honesty. The results are consistent with theories of the cultural co-evolution of institutions and values, and show that weak institutions and cultural legacies that generate rule violations not only have direct adverse economic consequences, but might also impair individual intrinsic honesty that is crucial for the smooth functioning of society.
Article
Reproducibility is a defining feature of science, but the extent to which it characterizes current research is unknown. We conducted replications of 100 experimental and correlational studies published in three psychology journals using high-powered designs and original materials when available. Replication effects were half the magnitude of original effects, representing a substantial decline. Ninety-seven percent of original studies had statistically significant results. Thirty-six percent of replications had statistically significant results; 47% of original effect sizes were in the 95% confidence interval of the replication effect size; 39% of effects were subjectively rated to have replicated the original result; and if no bias in original results is assumed, combining original and replication results left 68% with statistically significant effects. Correlational tests suggest that replication success was better predicted by the strength of original evidence than by characteristics of the original and replication teams.
Article
Does the extent of cheating depend on a proper reference point? We use a real effort task that implements a two (gain versus loss frame) times two (monitored performance versus unmonitored performance) between-subjects design to examine whether cheating is reference-dependent. Our experimental findings show that self-reported performance in the unmonitored condition is significantly higher than actual performance in the monitored condition — a clear indication for cheating. However, the level of cheating is by far higher in the loss frame than in the gain frame. Furthermore, men are much more strongly affected by the framing than women.
Article
In his recent best-selling book, The (Honest) Truth about Dishonesty (2012), Dan Arieli reports the results of an experiment which revealed that given the opportunity to cheat with seemingly no risk of getting caught and punished, many people would cheat, albeit by just a little bit. Furthermore, the modest level of cheating appeared to be insensitive to the gain from cheating. The latter finding leads Arieli to conclude that contrary to Gary Becker’s (1968) simple model of rational crime, real life cheaters would not cheat more in response to an increase in the gain from cheating. The present paper shows, first, that Arieli’s claim with regard to Becker’s model is incorrect, as this model cannot predict at all how the level of rational crime responds to an increase in the gain from crime. Second, the paper offers an extended version of Becker’s model which allows for such prediction, showing that an increase in the gain from crime can rationally decrease the number of crimes committed. Third, the paper suggests a simple model of rational cheating adjusted to Arieli’s experiment setup which rationalizes his results. Finally, the paper reports the results of an experiment which offered participants an opportunity to cheat in a perfectly safe environment, revealing, contrary to Arieli’s findings, that when really feeling safe, many people would cheat by a large extent.
Article
We discuss the cognitive and the psy- chophysical determinants of choice in risky and risk- less contexts. The psychophysics of value induce risk aversion in the domain of gains and risk seeking in the domain of losses. The psychophysics of chance induce overweighting of sure things and of improbable events, relative to events of moderate probability. De- cision problems can be described or framed in multiple ways that give rise to different preferences, contrary to the invariance criterion of rational choice. The pro- cess of mental accounting, in which people organize the outcomes of transactions, explains some anomalies of consumer behavior. In particular, the acceptability of an option can depend on whether a negative outcome is evaluated as a cost or as an uncompensated loss. The relation between decision values and experience values is discussed. Making decisions is like speaking prose—people do it all the time, knowingly or unknowingly. It is hardly surprising, then, that the topic of decision making is shared by many disciplines, from mathematics and statistics, through economics and political science, to sociology and psychology. The study of decisions ad- dresses both normative and descriptive questions. The normative analysis is concerned with the nature of rationality and the logic of decision making. The de- scriptive analysis, in contrast, is concerned with peo- ple's beliefs and preferences as they are, not as they should be. The tension between normative and de- scriptive considerations characterizes much of the study of judgment and choice. Analyses of decision making commonly distin- guish risky and riskless choices. The paradigmatic example of decision under risk is the acceptability of a gamble that yields monetary outcomes with specified probabilities. A typical riskless decision concerns the acceptability of a transaction in which a good or a service is exchanged for money or labor. In the first part of this article we present an analysis of the cog- nitive and psychophysical factors that determine the value of risky prospects. In the second part we extend this analysis to transactions and trades. Risky Choice Risky choices, such as whether or not to take an umbrella and whether or not to go to war, are made without advance knowledge of their consequences. Because the consequences of such actions depend on uncertain events such as the weather or the opponent's resolve, the choice of an act may be construed as the acceptance of a gamble that can yield various out- comes with different probabilities. It is therefore nat- ural that the study of decision making under risk has focused on choices between simple gambles with monetary outcomes and specified probabilities, in the hope that these simple problems will reveal basic at- titudes toward risk and value. We shall sketch an approach to risky choice that
Article
The Tax Gap is defined as the difference between the amount of tax imposed by the Tax Code and the amount that is reported and paid with timely filed returns. For the federal government, the gross tax gap is estimated at $345 billion for Tax Year 2001 (after the collection of late and enforced payments, the net tax gap is estimated at $290 billion for Tax Year 2001). This paper explains the concept of the tax gap, discusses how it is estimated, and points out some limitations with the estimates.
Article
In line with every-day observation, research has established substantial individual differences in ethical behavior, especially dishonesty and cheating. However, these individual differences have remained mostly unexplained, especially in terms of traits as specified in models of basic personality structure. Theoretically, a prime candidate to account for these differences is the Honesty-Humility factor proposed as the sixth basic personality dimension within the HEXACO Model of Personality. Despite clear theoretical links, corresponding behavioral evidence is scarce and limited due to methodological caveats. In a series of six behavioral experiments we thus bridge the gap between behavioral ethics and personality research – critically testing whether individual differences in dishonest behavior can be accounted for by basic traits in general, and Honesty-Humility in particular. We implement different cheating paradigms, tasks, incentive structures, samples, and sets of covariates to evaluate the robustness and generality of results. Overall, variance in dishonest behavior was indeed accounted for by Honesty-Humility which was the only consistent predictor of cheating across the various experimental setups and beyond relevant covariates including other personality factors. The results thus corroborate that individual differences in ethical behavior can be accommodated by comprehensive models of personality structure in general and the Honesty-Humility factor in particular.
Article
This paper investigates how the way of earning payoff affects the probability of stealing. The participants who earned their payoff according to performance were three times more likely to take the (undeserved) maximum payoff than participants with randomly allocated payoff. Conditional on stealing something, most subjects steal the full amount available.
Article
Building upon the observation that individuals feel ownership toward a variety of targets, we suggest that under certain conditions, organizational members can develop feelings of ownership toward the organization and various organizational factors. We define psychological ownership, identify its "roots" and the primary "routes" through which it develops, and propose certain organizational outcomes. We discuss the conceptual distinctiveness of psychological ownership from a set of related constructs and suggest some theoretical and managerial implications of our theory.
Article
In framing studies, logically equivalent choice situations are differently described and the resulting preferences are studied. A meta-analysis of framing effects is presented for risky choice problems which are framed either as gains or as losses. This evaluates the finding that highlighting the positive aspects of formally identical problems does lead to risk aversion and that highlighting their equivalent negative aspects does lead to risk seeking. Based on a data pool of 136 empirical papers that reported framing experiments with nearly 30,000 participants, we calculated 230 effect sizes. Results show that the overall framing effect between conditions is of small to moderate size and that profound differences exist between research designs. Potentially relevant characteristics were coded for each study. The most important characteristics were whether framing is manipulated by changing reference points or by manipulating outcome salience, and response mode (choice vs. rating/judgment). Further important characteristics were whether options differ qualitatively or quantitatively in risk, whether there is one or multiple risky events, whether framing is manipulated by gain/loss or by task-responsive wording, whether dependent variables are measured between- or within- subjects, and problem domains. Sample (students vs. target populations) and unit of analysis (individual vs. group) was not influential. It is concluded that framing is a reliable phenomenon, but that outcome salience manipulations, which constitute a considerable amount of work, have to be distinguished from reference point manipulations and that procedural features of experimental settings have a considerable effect on effect sizes in framing experiments.
Article
Research on terror management theory has found evidence that people under mortality salience strive to live up to salient cultural norms and values, such as egalitarianism, pacifism, or helpfulness. A basic and strong internalized norm in most human societies is the norm of reciprocity: People should support those who have supported them, and people should injure those who have injured them, respectively. In two experiments, the authors demonstrate that mortality salience increases adherence to the norm of reciprocity. In Study 1, a favor of a server led to higher tipping after making mortality salient. Study 2 indicated that mortality salience motivated participants to act according to their high dispositional relevance of the norm of negative reciprocity following an unfavorable treatment: Those participants gave less money to a person who had previously refused to help them.
Article
Based on the assumption that dishonesty poses a threat to one's self view, recent research has put forward the notion that people avoid major lies. However, existing empirical work has not tested this notion conclusively, given that studies have associated larger degrees of dishonesty with larger payoffs. It thus remains unclear whether people actually do avoid major lies or rather shy away from large (unjustified) payoffs, e.g. since the latter are generally more likely to trigger suspicion. Thus, we critically tested the hypothesis that the probability of dishonesty is a decreasing function of the distance between the actual truth and the lie that is necessary to increase ones gains. In a modified dice-game paradigm, a highly specific behavioral pattern was predicted by this hypothesis and results from a large (N = 765), incentivized and fully anonymous study confirmed the latter, thus corroborating that people indeed avoid major lies.
Article
Five experiments tested whether ostracism increases dishonesty through increased feelings of entitlement. Compared with included and control participants, ostracized participants indicated higher levels of dishonest intentions (Experiments 1-3) and cheated more to take undeserved money in a behavioral task (Experiments 4 and 5). In addition, increased feelings of entitlement mediated the effect of ostracism on dishonesty (Experiments 3-5). Framing ostracism as beneficial weakened the connection between ostracism, entitlement, and dishonest behavior (Experiment 5). Together, these findings highlight the significance of entitlement in explaining when and why ostracism increases dishonest behavior and how to weaken this relationship.
Article
Discusses the pros and cons of using qualitative (nonmathematical) descriptors of strength of association and effect size in data interpretation. Proposed is an extension of J. Cohen's (1988) classification scheme through the addition of a "very large" descriptive category. Discussed are the advantages of the odds ratio for the analysis of categorical data, as well as the development of qualitative descriptors of effect size for the odds ratio. Where treated as flexible guidelines rather than rigid rules and where sensitive to context and substantive area, qualitative description facilitates data interpretation and communication, particularly for the nonstatistical audience: beginning students, administrators and practitioners. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
This article presents terror management theory (TMT) as a way to understand how the human awareness of death affects materialism, conspicuous consumption, and consumer decisions. The pursuit of wealth and culturally desired commodities are hypothesized to reinforce those beliefs that function to protect people from existential anxieties. Following a brief overview of TMT and research, evidence is reviewed that explicates how intimations of mortality increase materialism as a way to enhance self-esteem and affects consumer decisions that support one's cultural worldview. Adverse consequences of materialistic and consumeristic worldviews are described and the challenges for future research to discover ways to alleviate them are considered. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
This research examines whether and why people manoeuvre their unethical behaviour so as to maximize material gains at a minimal psychological cost. Employing an anonymous die-under-cup paradigm, we asked people to report the outcome of a private die roll and gain money as a function of their reports. Supporting self-concept maintenance theory, results showed that people avoid both major lies (i.e. over-reporting the highest possible outcome) and minor lies (yielding little material gain), but did over-report intermediate outcomes when this implied a substantial increase compared to a walk-away value. Results suggest that lying is psychologically costly. We propose that organizations allowing freedom of choice while narrowing the available ways to unethically boost personal profit should see a decrease in unethical behaviour among their employees.