Posted By LambChop
Salon.com picked up a study reported by Pacific Standard Magazine and ran the headline that religious people are more likely to lie. Actually the study of 400 college students at University of Regina in Saskatchewan is somewhat interesting.
Results of the study showed that in over 50% of the cases, individuals told an untruth to gain financially. I blame Canada.
From Pacific Standard Magazine:
After providing basic biographical information, students were paired off each 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,” wrote the author of the study - University of Regina economist Jason Childs.
Among those more likely to lie for financial gain were:
Students whose parents were divorced. This is in line with expectations, in that past 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.
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.)
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.