Prosocial Lies: When Deception Breeds Trust

80 Pages Posted: 18 May 2013 Last revised: 16 Jan 2017

See all articles by Emma Levine

Emma Levine

University of Chicago - Booth School of Business

Maurice E. Schweitzer

University of Pennsylvania - Operations & Information Management Department

Date Written: May 17, 2013

Abstract

Philosophers, psychologists, and economists have long asserted that deception harms trust. We challenge this claim. We break new ground by demonstrating that some types of deception increase trust. Across five studies, we demonstrate that prosocial lying increases both behavioral and attitudinal measures of trust. We find that perceived benevolence is more important than perceived integrity in predicting trust behavior. We also find that deception, regardless of outcomes or intentions, harms integrity-based trust, a previously unexplored dimension of trust. This work expands our understanding of deception and deepens our insight into the mechanics of trust.

Keywords: deception, trust, experiments

Suggested Citation

Levine, Emma and Schweitzer, Maurice E., Prosocial Lies: When Deception Breeds Trust (May 17, 2013). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2266091 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2266091

Emma Levine (Contact Author)

University of Chicago - Booth School of Business ( email )

5807 S. Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

Maurice E. Schweitzer

University of Pennsylvania - Operations & Information Management Department ( email )

Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States
215-898-4776 (Phone)
215-898-3664 (Fax)

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