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Study: Religious more likely to lie for financial gain

Posted by on Oct. 24, 2013 at 9:06 AM
  • 28 Replies

“Everybody lies” was the mantra of Gregory House, the curmudgeonly physician so memorably portrayed by Hugh Laurie. But being a man of science, the brilliant doctor might want to rethink that philosophy in light of new research from Canada.

In an experiment where lying led directly to financial gain, just over 50 percent of the participants told an untruth. That figure is roughly consistent with previous research.

What’s new in this study by University of Regina economist Jason Childs is its breakdown of the personality traits of the liars. Unlike some previous research, he did not find men are more likely to lie than women.

However, he discovered other factors predicted a greater likelihood of telling an untruth—including the assertion that religion plays an important role in your life.

Somewhere (or not), Christopher Hitchens is chuckling.

Childs’ experiment featured 400 students drawn from introductory economics classes at the University of Regina in Saskatchewan. After providing basic biographical information, they were paired off and assigned to play the role of either “sender” or “receiver.”

Senders were informed that the pair would receive a total of two payments: $5 and $15 in some cases, $5 and $7 in others. They would receive one of the amounts, while the receiver collected the other.

They were then told to send a message to the receiver, who sat in a nearby room, informing him or her of which payoff was greater. The receiver would presumably then choose to take the more lucrative one, leaving the sender stuck with the lower amount.

Unless, of course, he or she chose to fib.

So who lied for personal financial gain? “We find that sex, age, grade point average, student debt, size of return, socioeconomic status, and average time spent in religious observation are not related to the decision to lie,” Childs writes in the journalEconomics Letters.





Among those more likely to lie for financial gain were:

• Business majors. “It could be that these students are more prone to lying by nature or training,” Childs writes. “It could also be that individuals strongly motivated by financial returns, and therefore more likely to lie for a monetary payoff, are more likely to pursue an education in business.” (Previous research has found higher levels of academic cheating among business majors.)

• Students whose parents were divorced. This is in line with expectations, in thatpast research has found children of divorce are more likely to engage in anti-social behavior. Perhaps the belief they’ve been cheated out of a happy childhood may lead them to feel cheating is OK.

• Those for whom religion was more important to their lives. “This is surprising,” Childs writes, as most religions “promote honesty as a virtue. It may be that students for whom religion was important feel separate from other students at this largely secular university,” and thus feel less compelled to be honest with them.

So, Dr. House’s cynicism aside, there are more than a few honest men—and women—out there. But if a friend with a business degree mentions he turned to religion to heal the wounds of his parents’ divorce … well, you may not want to make him your financial advisor.

http://www.salon.com/2013/10/22/study_religious_more_likely_to_lie_for_financial_gain_partner/

by on Oct. 24, 2013 at 9:06 AM
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Replies (1-10):
12hellokitty
by Platinum Member on Oct. 24, 2013 at 9:57 AM

So children with divorced parents more likely to lie.....

meriana
by Gold Member on Oct. 24, 2013 at 10:44 AM
6 moms liked this

The article aside, I, personally, believe that those who already have wealth (as in millions or more) are more likely to lie for financial gain.

A few years ago a company wanted to cut worker wages and benefits, claiming the increased cost of doing business yet the company was making record profits and the CEO, as well as a very few other top execs were receiving million + dollar bonuses.

Then too, we can look at our politicians (most of whom are very wealthy) and their extremely wealthy friends. They lie to the general public, claiming that doing such n such will help average Americans when in reality, a lot of the time, it only helps them and their friends. Romney is a great example of that. Some things he proposed and claimed would be great for and help everyone, when looked at closely would only have benefited those already very wealthy.

parentalrights1
by on Oct. 24, 2013 at 11:15 AM
1 mom liked this
Not surprised by the business majors at all.
JakeandEmmasMom
by Platinum Member on Oct. 24, 2013 at 11:20 AM

 That is in line with my own persoanl experiences.

yourspecialkid
by Platinum Member on Oct. 24, 2013 at 11:38 AM
2 moms liked this

 I can't put much stock in a study of only 400 college kids that wants me to pay $40 to actually see it.

Beyond this the article is a bit contradictory...In one paragraph it notes there was no correlation between the decision to lie and the time spent in religious observation and then in another there is a correletion for those whom religion is imporatnt to them.

If this study is true then a huge segment of the population lies...because they are products of divorce.

AlekD
by Gold Member on Oct. 24, 2013 at 11:40 AM

This is a shame if true, but it was only 400 students who were all in economics classes in a single university, so I'm not sure how reliable this is as a measure of the honesty of religious people as a whole.

glorytojehovah
by on Oct. 24, 2013 at 12:02 PM
1 mom liked this

I believe it. The church is full of hypocrisy and nobody does anything about it. It makes those of us who are trying to be obedient and do what God commands have to deal with the insults that they deserve. God commands us not to lie and to live in a holy way. Will we make mistakes? Yes. Should we keep repeating those mistakes? We may. God says to forgive 7 times 70 but at some point we should see our error and repent of it and turn from that. The more we read our bible and pray and submit to the Holy Spirit we grow. The problem with most religions is they don't have any real authentic power from God. Without God I am no good and cannot do any good thing. Some people usurp God's power and do things in their own power. So on the outside they look good but in their hearts are vial and shameful things. That's why God is so much better a judge than we are. We look at the outside and God sees what is truly in our hearts.

GLWerth
by Gina on Oct. 24, 2013 at 12:13 PM

Mine too.  


Quoting JakeandEmmasMom:

 That is in line with my own persoanl experiences.


 

candlegal
by Judy on Oct. 24, 2013 at 1:38 PM
Its not

Quoting AlekD:

This is a shame if true, but it was only 400 students who were all in economics classes in a single university, so I'm not sure how reliable this is as a measure of the honesty of religious people as a whole.

lga1965
by Ruby Member on Oct. 24, 2013 at 2:13 PM
1 mom liked this

 

Quoting meriana:

The article aside, I, personally, believe that those who already have wealth (as in millions or more) are more likely to lie for financial gain.

A few years ago a company wanted to cut worker wages and benefits, claiming the increased cost of doing business yet the company was making record profits and the CEO, as well as a very few other top execs were receiving million + dollar bonuses.

Then too, we can look at our politicians (most of whom are very wealthy) and their extremely wealthy friends. They lie to the general public, claiming that doing such n such will help average Americans when in reality, a lot of the time, it only helps them and their friends. Romney is a great example of that. Some things he proposed and claimed would be great for and help everyone, when looked at closely would only have benefited those already very wealthy.

 This makes more sense than the other so-called explanations.

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