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Does our environment influence our decision to engage in deception?


Does our environment influence our decision to engage in deception?

Smaller scale deceptions like misleading persuasion techniques and misrepresenting one’s credentials, can harm individuals and organizations. But deception can also be the social glue that keeps society together. By fudging one’s true feelings and opinions, one can prevent hurting others and maintain social harmony. What causes people to engage in deception? Lay people often believe that individuals are inherently good or bad (“once a liar, always a liar”) and ignore the contextual pressures that influence behaviour (cf. Ross & Nisbett, 1991). But context may be crucial in people’s decisions to deceive. In this project you will investigate whether people’s decisions to deceive are influenced by the context that they are in. You will manipulate the context by providing participants with a picture, a description, or a Virtual Environment (for instance church vs. library) after which participants are asked to answer dilemma’s in which they have to choose to either be honest or deceive for both self-centered and other-oriented situations.

Type of research



Are you interested in this topic for your thesis? Please contact the bachelor thesis coordinator Jan Gutteling (


Korte, C., & Kerr, N. (1975). Response to altruistic opportunities in urban and non-urban settings. The Journal of Social Psychology, 95, 183-184.

Stel, M. (2017). When people decide to deceive: A Contextual Dual Process Model of Deception. This proposal can be requested by emailing: