I have just taken part in an on-line experiment into honesty. Or rather dishonesty.
The British Science Association (www.britishscienceassociation.org) is running Honesty Lab – an international study to explore public concepts of honesty.
Perhaps things are different in Sweden, but here in the UK determining “dishonesty” is an essential part of criminal law. In cases involving theft, burglary, fraud etc, the defendant is judged on whether a person behaves counter to normally accepted “honest” behaviour. And whether they were aware they were acting dishonestly.
The assumption is that normal, law abiding people have a united concept of what is and isn´t honest. But is this true? Noone, apparently, has researched this. But the honesty lab hopes to through this online survey.
The “experiment” which takes five or ten minutes, asks you to answer questions on 5 short video clips of people doing a spectrum of dishonest things. In each case, you are asked, would you do this? Is it dishonest? Would you send this person to prison?
The results could be very interesting, particularly if they show variation between countries, or indeed gender, age groups, or other social factors.
It´s also interesting way to while away your tea break, if you have a spare ten minutes, and may make you think twice before borrowing your colleagues tea-bags without asking……