Qui Bono? Comparison of Behaviors in US Culture

Author: Erica Buckland Faculty Mentor: Nicole Stalnaker Director: Brian H. Kyser The Honors College Lone Star College 20515 TX-249 S Houston TX 77070

This research builds on existing studies of moral psychology to examine the acceptance of lying behavior within interacting domains and demographic factors in the United States. “Qui Bono? Comparison of Behaviors in US Culture” is an independent study designed to replicate and expand upon Cantarero et al.’s “When is a lie acceptable? Work and Private Life Lying Acceptance Depends on its Beneficiary.” A comprehensive literature review establishes that acceptability of lying behaviors varies between demographic markers, such as culture, age, gender, and religion specifically, within the two domains of context and beneficiary; however, no research with cross-cultural application has been done in the United States. A study was designed based on the four-pronged cross-cultural approach of Cantarero et al., (2018), and expanded to determine whether aspects of American culture affected the acceptability of egoistic and other-oriented lying behaviors in the context of work life and private life. After IRB approval, an anonymous online survey asked 308 participants (n=252), any one over the age of 18, to rate domain-specific scenarios based on perceived deception and whether they found the situation acceptable. There was a strong correlation found: the more a situation was perceived as deceptive, the less acceptable it was rated. Results indicated that ego-oriented personal lies were the least acceptable, followed by ego-oriented work, and other-oriented work; other-oriented personal lies being the most acceptable. The most compelling results were three ego-oriented lying situations that remained consistent across all demographics comparisons. Comparing these findings with the sister study suggests there is a strong correlation in acceptability to ego-oriented lies that transcends cultural predictors. This cross-cultural parallelism opens the door to the possibility of pulling the disparate realms of moral psychology into a cohesive whole by laying the groundwork for a comprehensive moral theory.

Additional Abstract Information

Presenter: Erica Buckland

Institution: Lone Star College System The Honors College

Type: Poster

Subject: Psychology

Status: Approved

Time and Location

Session: Poster 11
Date/Time: Wed 3:00pm-4:00pm
Session Number: 7061