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How honest is YOUR country? People in the UK are most likely to tell the truth while the Chinese are the most deceitful
source : 2015.11.16 Daily Mail (ボタンクリックで引用記事が開閉)
  • Researchers asked 1,500 people from 15 countries to complete two tasksk
  • The first asked people to honestly report the outcome of a coin toss where they were paid for getting a heads
  • The second asked people to complete a tricky music quiz without Googling
  • The least honest countries were China and Turkey in the respective tasks
It is said that honesty is the best policy but it seems not everyone agrees.

Researchers have found that people's truthfulness varies significantly between countries, with Britons and the Japanese scoring highest for morality and China and Turkey having the poorest scores.

In a series of tests, people were also asked to rate which country they believed to be the most deceitful with Greece, unfairly, topping the list.

■Researchers have found that people's honesty varies significantly between countries, with Britons scoring the highest. This graph shows the results for one experiment where people were asked to report the outcome of a coin toss. A total of 15 countries were studied. The most honest are shown left on a scale to the least honest

Researchers from the University of East Anglia (UEA) quizzed 1,500 people from 15 countries in an online survey, which involved two experiments designed to measure honest behaviour.

They wanted to find out whether people from different countries were more or less honest and how this related to a country's economic development.

The countries studied included Brazil, China, Greece, Japan, Russia, Switzerland, Turkey, the US, Argentina, Denmark, the UK, India, Portugal, South Africa, and South Korea.
Firstly, participants were asked to flip a coin and state whether it landed on 'heads' or 'tails'.
They knew if they reported that it landed on heads, they would be rewarded with $3 (£2) or $5 (£3.50).

  1. Great Britain
  2. South Africa
  3. Portugal
  4. Greece
  5. Switzerland
  6. Denmark
  7. Turkey
  8. USA
  9. Argentina
  10. Russia
  11. Brazil
  12. India
  13. South Korea
  14. Japan
  15. China
  1. Japan
  2. Great Britain
  3. USA
  4. Denmark
  5. Switzerland
  6. South Africa
  7. South Korea
  8. Greece
  9. Argentina
  10. Russia
  11. Brazil
  12. Portugal
  13. India
  14. China
  15. Turkey

If more than half of people in a given country reported the coin landed on heads, this indicated that people were being dishonest.

The same participants were then asked to complete a music quiz where they were again rewarded financially if they answered all the questions correctly.

They were asked not to search for the answers on the internet and had to tick a box confirming they had answered on their own before moving on to the next question.

Three of the questions were deliberately difficult so it would be highly likely that participants would need to look up the answer and getting more than one of these questions right indicated cheating.

Data from the tests was compared to determine whether people from particular countries were more likely to tell the truth.

■The second part of the experiment asked participants to take part in an online music quiz and answer six questions, without cheating and googling the answers. Japanese participants were the most honest (shown left) with China and Turkey at the opposite end of the scale at least honest

Study author Dr David Hugh-Jones, of UEA's School of Economics, found evidence for dishonesty in all the countries, but that levels varied significantly across them.

For example, estimated dishonesty in the coin flip ranged from 3.4 per cent in the UK to 70 per cent in China.

In the music quiz, respondents in Japan were the most honest, followed by the UK, while those in Turkey were the least truthful.

Participants in the study were asked to answer the following questions without looking up the answers online.

How would you have fared?
  1. Who wrote the composition 'Für Elise'?
  2. What is Lady Gaga’s real first name?
  3. Name the drummer of the rock group Nirvana.
  4. In what year was Claude Debussy born?
  5. How many valves are there on a standard modern trumpet?
  6. Name the town and state of the US where Michael Jackson was born?

Participants were also asked to predict the average honesty of those from other countries by guessing how many respondents out of 100 from a particular country would report heads in the coin flip test.

Dr Hugh-Jones, a senior lecturer in economics said: 'Differences in honesty were found between countries, but this did not necessarily correspond to what people expected.

'Beliefs about honesty seem to be driven by psychological features, such as self-projection.

'Surprisingly, people were more pessimistic about the honesty of people in their own country than of people in other countries.

'One explanation for this could be that people are more exposed to news stories about dishonesty taking place in their own country than in others.'

In the coin flip test, the four least honest countries were China, Japan, South Korea and India.

However, Asian countries were not significantly more dishonest than others in the quiz, where Japan had the lowest level of dishonesty.

Dr Hugh-Jones said the difference between Asian and other countries in the coin flip may be explained by cultural views specific to this type of test, such as attitudes to gambling, rather than differences in honesty as such.

People expected Greece to be the least honest country but in the coin flip it was one of the most honest, while in the quiz it ranked in the middle.

■Britons were found to be the most honest in the coin-tossing experiment, while Japanese participants in the study came out on top in the music quiz task. Stock images of London (left) and Tokyo (right) are shown

Of the respondents who expected less honesty in their own country, Greece and China were the most pessimistic.

Another finding was that less honest respondents also expected others to be less honest, as, unexpectedly, did those from more honest countries.

Dr Hugh-Jones explained there is increasing interest in the cultural and behavioural roots of economic development.

He found that while the honesty of countries related to their economic growth - poor countries were less honest than rich ones - this relationship was stronger for growth that took place before 1950.

'People's beliefs about the honesty of their fellow citizens, and those in other countries, may or may not be accurate, and these beliefs can affect how they interact', he said.

'For example, a country's willingness to support debt bailouts may be affected by stereotypes about people in the countries needing help. So it is important to understand how these beliefs are formed.'


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