We will use this space each week in the news blast for Justin to share new ideas he thinks may be of interest for our behavioral & experimental community. If you ever have ideas for topics, please share your ideas with
This Week's BRITE Idea:
For this week's BRITE idea we want to highlight an interesting new working paper from Cohn, Gesche and Marechal entitled "
Honesty in the Digital Age
". They did a clever experiment here building off a now well-trodden design for detecting cheating. They had participants flip coins in private and then report their number of successes, for which they were paid. There was no way for the experimenters to verify whether they reported accurately and the instructions and nature of the design made that clear to subjects. That basic approach has been used to detect cheating patterns in many studies now, because at a group level success rates deviating above 50% identify likely cheating.
What was interesting in this study was that they varied whether you reported your answers to a human or machine interface and did so in a clever way. In the human conditions the subjects, who did the task remotely (e.g., online participants), placed a skype call or did a skype chat with a member of the research team. In the machine interactions in one condition they just entered into an online form and in another placed a similar skype call, but the answer on the other end was an automated recording instead of a live person.
They find that cheating rates are significantly higher in the two machine interactions than the two human interactions, with subjects reporting about 7 percentage points greater share of successes in the machine interactions. Justin thinks this is an interesting paper on a number of dimensions, but wanted to highlight it for BRITE Lab in part to point out the novel way of using Skype technology to facilitate different treatments remotely.