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Honesty Endnotes

About these endnotes

This is where we provide references and in-depth information about everything in the Honesty playbook.

Acknowledgements

We honor and thank the scientists whose research inspired this Playbook. Any errors or omissions are ours.

“…cheating is a slippery slope…”

People are more likely to tell big lies after they first tell small lies (Welsh, Ordóñez, Snyder, & Christian, 2015).

“Kids are more likely to be dishonest after they’ve been lied to, even when the lie is small.”

After adults lied to them, school-aged children were more likely to cheat and lie themselves (Hays & Carver, 2014).

“Praise ethics over achievement…”

Kids who are told they have a reputation as a “good kid” are less likely to lie and cheat (Fu et al., 2016), but when they’re told they’re smart, they’re more motivated to cheat in order to appear smarter (Zhao, Heyman, Chen, & Lee, 2017). So instead or emphasizing intelligence and achievement, emphasize prosocial values like benevolence (Pulfrey & Butera, 2013). Otherwise you get Enron: an emphasis on performance that encourages people to use deceptive practices to get ahead.

“…create reminders about these principles.”

Research shows that simple reminders of ethical standards reduce dishonesty (Mazar, Amir, & Ariely, 2008). For instance, reminders of the Ten Commandments increase honesty, even among non-religious people.

“…write an honor code…”

Simply promising to tell the truth increases integrity (Evans & Lee, 2010). Partly for this reason, honor codes are an effective tool for reducing dishonesty (McCabe & Trevino, 1993).


References

Evans, A. D., & Lee, K. (2010). Promising to tell the truth makes 8‐to 16‐year‐olds more honest. Behavioral Sciences & the Law, 28(6), 801-811.

Fu, G., Heyman, G. D., Qian, M., Guo, T., & Lee, K. (2016). Young children with a positive reputation to maintain are less likely to cheat. Developmental Science, 19(2), 275-283.

Hays, C., & Carver, L. J. (2014). Follow the liar: The effects of adult lies on children’s honesty. Developmental Science, 17(6), 977-983.

Mazar, N., Amir, O., & Ariely, D. (2008). The dishonesty of honest people: A theory of self-concept maintenance. Journal of Marketing Research, 45(6), 633-644.

McCabe, D. L., & Trevino, L. K. (1993). Academic dishonesty: Honor codes and other contextual influences. The Journal of Higher Education64(5), 522-538.

Pulfrey, C., & Butera, F. (2013). Why neoliberal values of self-enhancement lead to cheating in higher education: A motivational account. Psychological Science, 24(11), 2153-2162.

Welsh, D. T., Ordóñez, L. D., Snyder, D. G., & Christian, M. S. (2015). The slippery slope: How small ethical transgressions pave the way for larger future transgressions. Journal of Applied Psychology100(1), 114.

Zhao, L., Heyman, G. D., Chen, L., & Lee, K. (2017). Praising young children for being smart promotes cheating. Psychological Science, 28(12), 1868-1870.