Signing at the beginning versus at the end does not decrease dishonesty.
Honest reporting is essential for society to function well. However, people frequently lie when asked to provide information, such as misrepresenting their income to save money on taxes. A landmark finding published in PNAS [L. L. Shu, N. Mazar, F. Gino, D. Ariely, M. H. Bazerman, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 109, 15197-15200 (2012)] provided evidence for a simple way of encouraging honest reporting: asking people to sign a veracity statement at the beginning instead of at the end of a self-report form. Since this finding was published, various government agencies have adopted this practice. However, in this project, we failed to replicate this result. Across five conceptual replications (n = 4,559) and one highly powered, preregistered, direct replication (n = 1,235) conducted with the authors of the original paper, we observed no effect of signing first on honest reporting. Given the policy applications of this result, it is important to update the scientific record regarding the veracity of these results.
Kristal, AS; Whillans, AV; Bazerman, MH; Gino, F; Shu, LL; Mazar, N; Ariely, D
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