The Dishonesty of Honest People (Paper Summary)

1589 Words Mar 31st, 2013 7 Pages
Dishonesty of Honest People: A theory of Self-Concept maintenance.
Main idea




People think of themselves as honest.
Yes, in reality dishonesty pays quite generously (give examples)
The paper demonstrates that their convenience people become dishonest enough to profit but also behave honestly enough to maintain their self-concept.

Why are People Dishonest?


















Origins of theory date from Adam Smith/Thomas Hobbes using Homo Economicus as a base reference. Aka “Rational Man” who acts consciously and deliberately to trade off benefits and costs of dishonest acts.
Within a dishonest act there is normally a balance of tradeoffs: 1. the amount that is to be gained 2. Likelihood
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Or individuals who came from a society that was organized on Abrahamic religious norms. Would the ten commandments have been effective on
Hindus? Or Zoroastrians?
Comment [MS4]: Perhaps it had more to do with their knowledge or lack of, in regards to the amount of money available to them as a reward???

Control group 1(50 cents): No possibility to cheat: as expected
Control group 2(2 dollars) No possibility to cheat: as expected
Recycle group 1(50 cents):Possibility to cheat: They cheated relative to the ctrl ( but only
13.5% out of 20 max). Cheating was slightly more common in the 50cent condition
Recycle group 2 (2 dollars) Possibility to cheat: They cheated relative to those in ctrl (but only
13.5% out of 20 max)
Recycle+ Honor code(signed agreement) group1(50 cents): indistinguishable from ctrl (but significantly different from the recycle groups)
Recycle+Honor code(signed agreement) group2(2 dollars): indistinguishable from ctrl (but significantly different from recycle groups)


Experinment 3: Tested whether a rise categorization malleability, increases level of dishonesty. Whether dishonesty would be motivated by external rewards of money or via intermediary medium(token).
Control group 1(50 cents): No possibility to cheat: as expected

Comment [MS5]: No support for H1.
Easier to claim more in this instance as dishonesty is less salient due to reduced reward level? (They have their own

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