The acceptability of deception as a function of perceivers' culture, deceiver's intention, and deceiver‐deceived relationship
Abstract. This study explored the degree to which deception is perceived to be a socially acceptable form of communication. It was suspected that a liar's motivation for deceiving, a per- ceiver's cultural background, and the type of relationship between a liar and the target of a lie (e.g., spouse, friend, stranger, etc.) would affect the perceived acceptability of deceptive messages. Students from China and the United States rated the degree to which they perceived deceptive acts depicted in written scenarios as acceptable or unacceptable. Results indicated that 1) lies told for malicious or self-benefiting purposes were perceived as less acceptable than mutually-benefiting lies and lies that benefit others; and 2) culture and the type of relationship between liars and targets of lies interacted with motive for lying to affect the perceived acceptability of deception. These results, their implications, and avenues for future research are discussed.