The Costs of Deception: Evidence From Psychology
Recently, it has been argued that the evidence in social science research suggests that deceiving subjects in an experiment does not lead to a significant loss of experimental control. Based on this assessment, experimental economists were counseled to lift their de facto prohibition against deception to capture its potential benefits. To the extent that this recommendation is derived from empirical studies, we argue that it draws on a selective sample of the available evidence. Building on a systematic review of relevant research in psychology, we present two major results: First, the evidence suggests that the experience of having been deceived generates suspicion which in turn is likely to affect judgment and decision making of a non-negligible number of participants. Second, we find little evidence for reputational spillover effects that have been hypothesized by a number of authors in psychology and economics (e.g., Kelman, 1967; Davis and Holt, 1993). Based on a discussion of the methodological costs and benefits of deception, we conclude that experimental economists' prohibition of deception is a sensible convention that economists should not abandon.
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Bonetti, Shane, 1998. "Experimental economics and deception," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 377-395, June.
- Nicholas Bardsley, 2000. "Control Without Deception: Individual Behaviour in Free-Riding Experiments Revisited," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 3(3), pages 215-240, December.
- Weimann, Joachim, 1994. "Individual behaviour in a free riding experiment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 185-200, June.
- McDaniel, Tanga & Starmer, Chris, 1998. "Experimental economics and deception: A comment," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 403-409, June.
- Smith, Vernon L, 1982. "Microeconomic Systems as an Experimental Science," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(5), pages 923-955, December.
- Ortmann, Andreas & Tichy, Lisa K., 1999. "Gender differences in the laboratory: evidence from prisoner's dilemma games," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 39(3), pages 327-339, July.
- Bonetti, Shane, 1998. "Reply to Hey and Starmer & McDaniel," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 411-414, June.
- Hoffman, Elizabeth & McCabe, Kevin & Smith, Vernon L, 1996. "Social Distance and Other-Regarding Behavior in Dictator Games," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 653-660, June.
- Kreps, David M., 1990. "Game Theory and Economic Modelling," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198283812.
- Hausken, Kjell, 1995. "The dynamics of within-group and between-group interaction," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(7), pages 655-687.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpga:0203001. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (EconWPA)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.