Cognitive Processing

, Volume 16, Issue 3, pp 291–300 | Cite as

Self-serving dishonest decisions can show facilitated cognitive dynamics

  • Maryam Tabatabaeian
  • Rick Dale
  • Nicholas D. Duran
Research Report

Abstract

We use a novel task to test two competing hypotheses concerning the cognitive processes involved in dishonesty. Many existing accounts of deception imply that in order to act dishonestly one has to use cognitive control to overcome a bias toward the truth, which results in more time and effort. A recent hypothesis suggests that lying in order to serve self-interest may be a rapid, even automatic tendency taking less time than refraining from lying. In the current study, we track the action dynamics of potentially dishonest decisions to investigate the underlying cognitive processes. Participants are asked to privately predict the outcome of a virtual coin flip, report their accuracy and receive bonus credit for accurate predictions. The movements of the computer cursor toward the target answer are recorded and used to characterize the dynamics of decisions. Our results suggest that when a self-serving condition holds, decisions that have a high probability of being dishonest take less time and experience less hesitation.

Keywords

Decision-making Action dynamics Dishonesty Cognitive processes 

Supplementary material

10339_2015_660_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (3.9 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 4013 kb)

References

  1. Abe N, Greene JD (2014) Response to anticipated reward in the nucleus accumbens predicts behavior in an independent test of honesty. J Neurosci 34:10564–10572PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Barnes CM, Schaubroeck J, Huth M, Ghumman S (2011) Lack of sleep and unethical conduct. Organ Behav Hum Decis Process 115:169–180CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Dale R, Duran ND (2013) Dealing with complexity differently: from interaction-dominant dynamics to theoretical plurality. Ecol Psychol 25(3):248–255CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. DePaulo BM, Kashy DA (1998) Everyday lies in close and casual relationships. J Pers Soc Psychol 74(1):63PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. DePaulo BM, Kashy DA, Kirkendol SE, Wyer MM, Epstein JA (1996) Lying in everyday life. J Pers Soc Psychol 70(5):979PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Duran ND, Dale R (2012) Increased vigilance in monitoring others’ mental states during deception. In: Miyake N, Peebles D, Cooper RP (eds) Proceedings of the 34th annual conference of the cognitive science society. Cognitive Science Society, Austin, pp 1518–1523Google Scholar
  7. Duran ND, Dale R, McNamara DS (2010) The action dynamics of overcoming the truth. Psychon Bull Rev 17:486–491PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Fischbacher U, Föllmi-Heusi F (2013) Lies in disguise—an experimental study on cheating. J Eur Econ Assoc 11(3):525–547CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Freeman JB, Ambady N (2009) Motions of the hand expose the partial and parallel activation of stereotypes. Psychol Sci 20:1183–1188PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Freeman JB, Dale R, Farmer TA (2011) Hand in motion reveals mind in motion. Front Psychol 2:59PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Gilbert DT (1991) How mental systems believe. Am Psychol 46:107–119CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Gino F, Schweitzer ME, Mead NL, Ariely D (2011) Unable to resist temptation: how self-control depletion promotes unethical behavior. Organ Behav Hum Decis Process 115:191–203CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Greene JD, Paxton JM (2009) Patterns of neural activity associated with honest and dishonest moral decisions. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 106:12506–12511PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Gunia BC, Wang L, Huang L, Wang J, Murnighan JK (2012) Contemplation and conversation: subtle Influences on moral decision making. Acad Manag J 55:13–33CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Ipeirotis PG (2010) Demographics of Mechanical Turk (Tech. Rep. No. CeDER-10 01)Google Scholar
  16. Kahneman D (2011) Thinking, fast and slow. MacmillanGoogle Scholar
  17. Magnuson JS (2005) Moving hand reveals dynamics of thought. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 102(29):9995–9996PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Mason W, Suri S (2012) Conducting behavioral research on Amazon’s Mechanical Turk. Behav Res Methods 44(1):1–23PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Mason WA, Watts DJ (2009) Financial incentives and the performance of crowds. In: Proceedings of the ACM SIGKDD workshop on human computation, pp 77–85Google Scholar
  20. McKinstry C, Dale R, Spivey MJ (2008) Action dynamics reveal parallel competition in decision making. Psychol Sci 19:22–24PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Mead N, Baumeister RF, Gino F, Schweitzer M, Ariely D (2009) Too tired to tell the truth: self-control resource depletion and dishonesty. J Exp Soc Psychol 45:594–597PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Seymour TL (2001) A epic model of the ‘guilty knowledge effect’: strategic and automatic processes in recognition. Diss Abstr Int Sect B Sci Eng 61(10-B):5591Google Scholar
  23. Seymour TL, Schumacher EH (2009) Electromyographic evidence for response conflict in the exclude recognition task. Cogn Affect Behav Neurosci 9(1):71–82PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Shalvi S, Eldar O, Bereby-Meyer Y (2012) Honesty requires time (and lack of justifications). Psychol Sci 23:1264–1270PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Song JH, Nakayama K (2008) Target selection in visual search as revealed by movement trajectories. Vision Res 48(7):853–861PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Spence SA, Farrow TF, Herford AE, Wilkinson ID, Zheng Y, Woodruff PW (2001) Behavioural and functional anatomical correlates of deception in humans. NeuroReport 12:2849–2853PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Spivey MJ, Dale R (2006) Continuous dynamics in real-time cognition. Curr Dir Psychol Sci 15:207–211CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Spivey MJ, Grosjean M, Knoblich G (2005) Continuous attraction toward phonological competitors. Proc Natl Acad Sci 102:10393–10398PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Suri S, Watts DJ (2011) Cooperation and contagion in web-based, networked public goods experiments. PLoS One 6(3):e16836PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Verschuere B, De Houwer J (2011) Detecting concealed information in less than a second: response-latency based measures. In: Verschuere B, Ben-Shakhar G, Meijer E (eds) Memory detection. Cambridge University Press, LondonCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Vrij A, Mann SA, Fisher RP, Leal S, Milne R, Bull R (2008) Increasing cognitive load to facilitate lie detection: the benefit of recalling an event in reverse order. Law Hum Behav 32(3):253PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Walczyk JJ, Roper KS, Seemann E, Humphrey AM (2003) Cognitive mechanisms underlying lying to questions: response time as a cue to deception. Appl Cogn Psychol 17:755–774CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Marta Olivetti Belardinelli and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maryam Tabatabaeian
    • 1
  • Rick Dale
    • 1
  • Nicholas D. Duran
    • 2
  1. 1.Cognitive and Information Sciences, Social Sciences and Management BuildingUniversity of California MercedMercedUSA
  2. 2.Arizona State UniversityGlendaleUSA

Personalised recommendations