Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Evidence Against Evolution?

  • The Wall Street Journal

Week in Ideas: Daniel Akst


Honesty Begins at Home

Studies in lab settings have found that people are quite willing to lie when it's to their advantage. But a paper finds that, at home, they're remarkably honest.
In one experiment, researchers phoned people at home and asked them to flip a coin, promising about $20 or an Amazon.com gift code if the coin landed tails. Heads? They'd get nothing. The researchers had no way to know which of the 658 participants might be lying, but a result of around 50-50 would indicate honesty. In fact, 56% reported heads.
In a second experiment, 94 people were asked by phone to flip a coin four times (and promised about $6.60 for every throw of tails). The results were almost exactly what would be expected statistically, suggesting that not much lying was going on. The data weren't correlated to gender; in previous studies, women were found to be more honest.
"Truth-Telling: A Representative Assessment," Johannes Abeler, Anke Becker and Armin Falk, Institute for the Study of Labor, Bonn, Discussion Paper 6919 (October)