Magazine article Talent Development

Liar, Liar: People Are More Likely to Fib in Groups Than on Their Own

Magazine article Talent Development

Liar, Liar: People Are More Likely to Fib in Groups Than on Their Own

Article excerpt

Dishonesty in general is concerning, but when a group decides to lie, it's even more troubling. The article "I Lie? We Lie! Why? Experimental Evidence on a Dishonesty Shift in Groups," published in Management Science, describes an experiment conducted to determine whether individuals or groups are more likely to tell falsehoods when they can benefit from doing so.

The researchers tested their question by assigning participants to one of three experimental conditions--individuals, groups with common payoffs, and groups without common payoffs--and asking them to perform a die-rolling task.

The task was simple: Sitting in front of a computer, subjects were shown an image of a die with a number one through six and were asked to enter what they saw. People would be paid for their participation based on the numbers they reported, and thus motivated to enter the number with the highest payoff--even if it meant lying.

In the first experimental condition (individuals), participants completed the task alone, unable to communicate with others. In the second condition (groups with common payoffs), participants performed the task in groups of three. Participants needed to report seeing the same number on the die to receive their money; if they didn't, they received nothing. …

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