An apology for lying
We investigate what types of social factors affect apology behavior for a previous lie and credibility levels for that apology. We abruptly provide subjects an opportunity to send an apology message after completion of the deception game (Gneezy, 2005) and investigate the effects of three main variables: burden of guilt based on the difference of stakes to be earned from lying and those from telling the truth (large vs. small), socio-economic background (students vs. non-students), and social distance (anonymity vs. face-to-face). The results show that none of these variables affect lying behavior. Students trust their counterparts less than non-students. After the deception game, students are less likely to send the message of having told a lie than non-students, but neither the burden of guilt nor social distance affects the motivation for sending such a message. Students give lower credibility levels to the additional messages sent after the deception game than non-students. Lifting anonymity raises credibility levels. The most powerful variables to affect apology behavior and credibility levels are subjects own previous decisions: whether to lie or not and whether to trust or not. That is, liars are more likely to send the message of having told a lie or keep silent than honest subjects, and trustors grant higher credibility than non-trustors.
|Date of creation:||Aug 2010|
|Date of revision:||Apr 2013|
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- Sanchez-Pages, Santiago & Vorsatz, Marc, 2007.
"An experimental study of truth-telling in a sender-receiver game,"
Games and Economic Behavior,
Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 86-112, October.
- Santiago Sanchez-Pages & Marc Vorsatz, 2004. "An Experimental Study of Truth-Telling in a Sender-Receiver Game," ESE Discussion Papers 128, Edinburgh School of Economics, University of Edinburgh.
- Santiago Sanchez-Pages, 2007.
"Enjoy the Silence: An Experiment on Truth-Telling,"
ESE Discussion Papers
155, Edinburgh School of Economics, University of Edinburgh.
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