Research Topic

Honesty and Moral Behavior in Economic Games

About this Research Topic

Over the last decade, the study of dishonesty and other types of immoral behavior such as strategic ignorance or the affliction of harm have received increasing attention in behavioral economics. Orthodox economic theory makes strong (simplifying) assumptions about behavior that often include an assumption of pure selfishness and the absence of moral qualms when actors deviate from social norms. But a growing literature in experimental economics has shown that lies or hurtful actions do come for many with considerable psychological costs: for example, subjects often follow social norms or may prefer to tell the truth even when a lie generates monetary benefits and cannot be spotted. Such behavior suggests that many decision makers have image concerns: they care about their social image and also about their self-image.

In this Research Topic, we will collect experimental and theoretical papers that shed more light on mechanisms that drive honesty and other forms of moral behavior. The main criterion for the research papers that we welcome is that the papers contribute to a deeper understanding of the forces that hold humans away from behaving immorally.

We welcome submissions that address the following research fields/topics:

1) Theoretical investigations into the role of psychological costs of dishonesty and/or immoral behavior in applied contexts.
2) Experimental studies conducted in laboratory, field or online on dishonesty (lying in cheating games, deception games, mind games, real-effort games such as matrix-solving task, originally developed lying games), willful ignorance, moral erosion, and anti-social behavior.
3) Experiments focusing on the influence of context and/or personal characteristics that determine morally relevant behavior and lying.

We will consider only the papers that do not use deception of participants in experimental procedures.

Using the Frontiers in Psychology classification, we welcome Type A submissions: Original Research, Review, Hypothesis & Theory article types.


Keywords: Lying, cheating, moral behavior, ethics, experimental economics


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Over the last decade, the study of dishonesty and other types of immoral behavior such as strategic ignorance or the affliction of harm have received increasing attention in behavioral economics. Orthodox economic theory makes strong (simplifying) assumptions about behavior that often include an assumption of pure selfishness and the absence of moral qualms when actors deviate from social norms. But a growing literature in experimental economics has shown that lies or hurtful actions do come for many with considerable psychological costs: for example, subjects often follow social norms or may prefer to tell the truth even when a lie generates monetary benefits and cannot be spotted. Such behavior suggests that many decision makers have image concerns: they care about their social image and also about their self-image.

In this Research Topic, we will collect experimental and theoretical papers that shed more light on mechanisms that drive honesty and other forms of moral behavior. The main criterion for the research papers that we welcome is that the papers contribute to a deeper understanding of the forces that hold humans away from behaving immorally.

We welcome submissions that address the following research fields/topics:

1) Theoretical investigations into the role of psychological costs of dishonesty and/or immoral behavior in applied contexts.
2) Experimental studies conducted in laboratory, field or online on dishonesty (lying in cheating games, deception games, mind games, real-effort games such as matrix-solving task, originally developed lying games), willful ignorance, moral erosion, and anti-social behavior.
3) Experiments focusing on the influence of context and/or personal characteristics that determine morally relevant behavior and lying.

We will consider only the papers that do not use deception of participants in experimental procedures.

Using the Frontiers in Psychology classification, we welcome Type A submissions: Original Research, Review, Hypothesis & Theory article types.


Keywords: Lying, cheating, moral behavior, ethics, experimental economics


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

30 November 2020 Abstract
23 March 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

30 November 2020 Abstract
23 March 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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