We Believe in Being Honest: Examining Subcultural Differences in the Acceptability of Deception1


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    Susanna Robinson Ning is now at Argosy University, San Francisco, CA.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Angela M. Crossman, Department of Psychology, John Jay College, City University of New York, New York, NY 10019. E-mail: acrossman@jjay.cuny.edu


Perceptions of lie acceptability vary as a function of the motivation for the lie, the relationship between deceiver and deceived, and the perceiver's cultural background. The current study examines the relation between one cultural background—that is, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS)—and perceptions of lie acceptability, and whether this varies as a function of lie and rater characteristics. Participants rated lie acceptability in 12 scenarios varying lie motivation and lie recipient. Overall, the LDS group rated lies as less acceptable than did the non-LDS group, and lie acceptability varied according to lie motivation and lie recipient. Participant age was negatively correlated with lie acceptability. Implications of the findings and directions for future research are discussed.