Situational Determinants of the Acceptability of Telling Lies
Abstract. It was tested whether the same factors people take into account when involved in the decision to lie apply to the evaluation of lies presented in scenarios. The scenarios represented 12 different situation categories formed by the crossing of the motive for lying (social. individualistic, egoistic), the relative importance of the situation (important matter, unimportant matter), and the closeness of the relation between the subject and the receiver of the lie (best friend, acquaintance). The acceptability of lying was evaluated from 2 perspectives (self, others) by 180 women of the general public. The results show that as the interest of the person that is lied to becomes greater, lying becomes more acceptable. As the interest of the liar becomes greater, lying becomes less acceptable. The systematically higher estimations of acceptability attributed to others indicate a false-uniqueness effect.