lies, research

lies, researchResearchers from the University of Pennsylvania discovered that 1 in 5 people will lie for as little as $10. Moreover, offering people more money didn’t prompt more people to fudge the facts, so it could be said that no matter how much cash is on offer, there is just a share of population that will cheat, just to get a quick buck.

Research: 20% of people lie when offered as little as $10

In the research by the School of Medicine of the University of Pennsylvania (USA) people were asked questions about their motivation to get a flu shot or abstain from getting one.

However, at the same time researchers checked whether people would lie if offered a financial incentive to do so.

People in groups who were offered $5, $10 or $20 for participation and at the same time were told they can only be part of the interview if they did have the flu shot (or didn’t have one, in other groups), thus they had an incentive to lie.

The control group of the study didn’t have the incentive to lie, since their eligibility to participate in the study didn’t depend on whether they did have the shot or not. The rate of vaccination by the control group was then used to calculate the share of people choosing to lie in the test groups.

Funny enough, people were more likely to lie about having the flu shot than about not having one.

How much money people need to lie?

As little as $5 incentive was enough to stimulate fudging the truth.

  • In the control group, 52.2% of participants reported having a flu shot.
  • When having a shot was made a requirement to be a part of the research, numbers jumped: 63.1% ($5 payment offered), 62.8% ($10), 62.1 ($20).
  • When not having a shot was the eligibility criteria, numbers dropped: 46.5% ($5), 41.8% ($10), 46.7% ($20).

Surprisingly, $10 incentive produced higher rates of lying than both $5 and $20 payout, in either of the tests groups.

Accordingly, from 10.5% to 22.8% of people are prepared to lie when it can get them some little cash in the hand.

This raises important questions over the eligibility criteria that are self-reported by participants in medical studies, Holly Fernandez Lynch, the author of the research, pointed out.

At the same time, a higher payout didn’t produce a higher rate of cheating, but let’s agree, the amounts were still pretty low, not in hundreds or thousands of dollars. You never know how the results would change if there were larger amounts at stake.

If this is the result in the USA, how the other countries would fare in this regard? What do you think? Comment below!

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