top of page

Jimmy, Jimmy's dad, and the stolen pencils:


if you needed a pencil, why didn’t you just say something? Why didn’t you simply ask? You know very well that I can bring you dozens of pencils from work.”

We are more willing to cheat and steal if it does not involve actual money. We are far more willing and steal proxies to money, for example, tokens, or online credit.  willing to steal something that does not explicitly reference monetary value—that is, something that lacks the face of a dead president. However, we shy away from directly stealing money

I placed six-packs of Coca-Cola; in the others, I slipped in a paper plate with six $1 bills on it. I went back from time to time to visit the refrigerators and see how my Cokes and money were doing—measuring what, in scientific terms, we call the half-life of Coke and money.

As anyone who has been to a dorm can probably guess, within seventy-two hours all the Cokes were gone, but what was particularly interesting was that no one touched the bills. Now, the students could have taken a dollar bill, walked over to the nearby vending machine and gotten a Coke and change, but no one did.

Matrix experiments 

The token condition was similar to the shredder condition, except that the participants were paid in plastic chips instead of dollars. In the token condition, once participants finished shredding their worksheets, they approached the experimenter and said, “I solved X matrices, please give me X tokens.” Once they received their chips, they walked twelve feet to a nearby table, where they handed in their tokens and received cold, hard cash.


Matrix Experiments 
- Each Matrix has 12 numbers (3 x4). 

- The goal is to find 2 numbers that add up to exactly 10. 

- Solve as many matrixes as possible, in 5 minutes. 

- The average score is 4. 

Solve as many matrixes as you can in 5 minutes. Bring your script to the experimenter for verification. Get paid for each matrix completed.

Scenario 1:

Solve for as many matrixes you can in 5 minutes. 
Shred your exam sheet

Tell the experiment your score.

Get paid for the score you proclaim.

Result? 70% cheating rate. Average of X +2

Scenario 2:

Same as scenario 1. Solve for as many matrxies you can in 5 minutes

Shred your test sheet.

Tell the experiment your score.

Get paid for the score you proclaim.
However, groups are randomly assigned different payments - 

bottom of page