Now, believe it or not. People sometimes lie in order to maintain a good honest reputation, -- even if it hurts them to do so. At least, this is what a team of scientists is suggesting, with evidence to prove it.
Picture this scenario: you often drive for work and can be compensated for up to 400 miles per month. Most people at your company drive about 300 miles each month. But this month you drove 400 miles. How many miles do you think you'd claim in your expense report?
The scientist asked this exact question as part of the study we're discussing today. With surprising results, they found that 12% of respondents reported the distance they drove as less than the actual figure, giving an average answer of 384 miles. In other words, they lied about their number of miles, even though they would forfeit money they were owed.
The researchers believe this was to seem honest with the assumption being that others would be suspicious of a high expense claim. But why would people fabricate numbers to their own detriment? The researchers explained that many people care a great deal about their reputation and how they'll be judged by others. If they care enough, they're concerned about appearing honest and not losing the respect of others- maybe greater than their desire to actually be honest.
The researchers assert that the findings suggest that when people obtain very favorable outcomes, they anticipate other people's suspicious reactions and prefer lying and appearing honest to telling the truth and appearing as selfish liars.
So why is this research important? Well, experts generally agreed there are two main types of lie, selfish liars and liars that are meant to benefit others. The first, as you may predict, is for selfish gain, such as submitting a fraudulent claim to an insurance company, while the second involves lying to help others or not offend others. For example, telling a friend whose outfit you don't like that they look great.
But the researchers are suggesting a third type of lying: lying to maintain a good reputation. Now this hypothesis is new, and some skeptics argue that this isn't a whole new category of lie.
But the findings seem intuitive to me. After all, one of the main motivations for lying is to increase our worth in the eyes of others. So it seems highly likely that people will lie to seem honest.
19: What did the team of scientists find in their study?
20: Why would people fabricate numbers to their own detriment according to the researchers?
21: What does the speaker think of the researchers' findings?