Facilitation in Dishonesty is Subject to Task Constraints

Maryam TabatabaeianUniversity of California Merced, merced, California, United States
Rick DaleUniversity of California, Merced
Nicholas DuranArizona State University


A recent line of research suggests that in a tempting situation, a dishonest decision can be executed more quickly and easily than an honest one. Some theories have purported that dishonesty is a default and automatic tendency, while honesty requires a more deliberative process. We argue that the facilitation observed in past studies is closely dependent on the nature of the task. In the current study we added a memory constraint to a cognitive task that prompts dishonest responses. Participants were rewarded for their accuracy in privately predicting the outcome of computerized coin flips. They reported their prediction by clicking their mouse on one of the two options on the screen (heads, tails). We collected the mouse movements for each participant and analyzed the mouse trajectories to study decision-making dynamics. Results revealed that patterns of facilitation are subtle and likely shaped by task constraints, rather than dishonesty simply being “automatic.”


Facilitation in Dishonesty is Subject to Task Constraints (1.3 MB)

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