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Contrary to previous well-known study, winning does not make people cheat

ANI | Updated: Aug 07, 2022 16:17 IST

Washington [US], August 7 (ANI): Contrary to a well-publicised earlier study, new extensive research demonstrates that winning does not motivate people to cheat.
Winners of skill-based competitions are more likely to steal money in subsequent games of chance against different opponents, as opposed to losers or people who did not view themselves as winners or losers, according to a 2016 paper by Israeli researchers who detailed a series of experiments.
This widely discussed study with relatively small sample sizes put forth the theory that winning in a competitive environment fosters a sense of entitlement that promotes cheating.
But as of today (Wednesday), a revised and expanded study conducted by scientists at the University of Leicester (UK) and the University of Southern California (USA) contradicts the earlier findings.
Whether they had previously won or lost, the international research team discovered that people with a strong sense of fairness cheated less.

They looked at the actions of 259 participants in a lab-based dice-rolling game, which was the same as the original study, and 275 participants in an additional online experiment, which involved a simple coin-tossing game. The outcomes were then examined using both conventional statistics and a mathematical procedure known as structural equation modelling.
Just as in the initial study, researchers discovered that a small but significant amount of cheating took place for the monetary rewards on offer. However, neither winning nor losing increased subsequent cheating or people's sense of entitlement.
Instead, low "inequality aversion" was the only factor examined that could explain the small (but significant) amount of cheating that took place.
Uneven outcomes are disliked by those who have inequality aversion. People who have a strong sense of fairness are often intolerant of inequality and refrain from cheating because they see it as a form of unfairness.
In addition to serving as the study's lead author, Andrew Colman is a professor of psychology at the University of Leicester's Department of Neuroscience, Psychology, and Behaviour.
In light of academic dishonesty in the digital age, issues with tax avoidance and evasion by wealthy people in developed economies, and more broadly the effects of growing inequality in wealth and income on corruption and crime, Professor Colman said that cheating and general dishonesty are of growing concern. The results of the 2016 study caught us off guard, so we sought to replicate it using sizeable sample sizes. The original study's small sample sizes lacked statistical power to draw conclusive inferences "We were astounded to learn that cheating was widespread despite the fact that winning or losing had no bearing on it. At the very least, we have offered reliable scientific evidence that answers the query unequivocally." (ANI)