Monday, April 21, 2014

Dan Ariely - The Honest Truth About Dishonesty

This is a really good talk by the author of a book by the same title.

Point 1: Every one of Ariely's experiments is based on the dishonesty of the experimenter. He no doubt justifies this by the view that "a little white lie" is justified by the scientific importance of the experiment.

Point 2: When you participate in an experiment designed and managed by a psychologist, you can be pretty sure that the pre-participation explanation you got was not an accurate statement of what the psychologist was actually looking for.

In the test Ariely described involving solving as many arithmetic problems as possible in a short time,  participants should have recognized the investigator was not interested in measuring the speed of arithmetical calculations. So I suggest that one should give the researchers something interesting to think about. Either:

  • refuse to participate, walking out immediately, but taking the paper with one to see how interesting the problems were on one's own time.
  • immediately announce that you had solved all the problems, shred the blank paper, and walk out with the money.

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