Renowned psychologist Dan Ariely literally wrote the book on dishonesty. Now some are questioning whether the scientist himself is being dishonest.
According to the 2012 paper, when people signed an honesty declaration at the beginning of a form, rather than the end, they were less likely to lie. A seemingly cheap and effective method to fight fraud, it was adopted by at least one insurance company, tested by government agencies around the world, and taught to corporate executives. It made a splash among academics, who cited it in their own research more than 400 times.Stephanie M. Lee, “A Famous Honesty Researcher Is Retracting A Study Over Fake Data” at Buzzfeed
Of course, Ariely was featured in TED talks, had an advice column in the Wall Street Journal and wrote a New York Times bestseller. His co-author, we are told, did all right too.
But then, apart from the fact that follow-up studies did not support the main thesis, another problem arose:
But more recently, a group of outside sleuths scrutinized the original paper’s underlying data and stumbled upon a bigger problem: One of its main experiments was faked “beyond any shadow of a doubt,” three academics wrote in a post on their blog, Data Colada, on Tuesday.Stephanie M. Lee, “A Famous Honesty Researcher Is Retracting A Study Over Fake Data” at Buzzfeed
The rest is classic.
Stephanie Lee describes this as the latest blow to behavioral economics. One fears it will not be the last.
Note: (This post is dedicated to all who believe that SCIENCE is a big answer to the questions of the ages.)