Deceptive Communication in Group Contexts

  • Jeremy R. WingetEmail author
  • R. Scott Tindale


Unethical behavior is often viewed as an individual-level phenomenon. However, group membership can influence individuals’ choices to behave ethically or not (Messick, 2006). This chapter discusses whether and when groups will be more likely than individuals to use deception. We focus on three areas of research. The first involves comparing individuals and groups in mixed-motive situations, and the discontinuity between individual and group responses to economic games: individuals tend to cooperate while groups tend to compete (Wildschut, Pinter, Vevea, Insko, & Schopler, 2003). In terms of deception, this is interesting as both individuals and groups initially cooperate. We discuss explanations for groups’ unethical tendencies and their relation to why groups use deception. Second, we focus on general differences between individual and group deception. Deception can be beneficial when negotiating, and groups tend to use deception to their benefit (Cohen, Gunia, Kim-Jun, & Murnighan, 2009; Sutter, 2009). Finally, we discuss explanations for these effects and provide a framework for understanding when and why groups use deception.


Group decision making Group deception Mixed-motive situations Individual and group differences Interindividual-intergroup discontinuity 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyLoyola University ChicagoChicagoUSA

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