You Might Give a Wrong Answer Just to Demonstrate Your Truthfulness

When research participants were asked to publicly identify words shown on a screen, those whose vision had been blocked nevertheless sometimes disagreed with those who had been able to see the screen–in fact, they disagreed at least 27% of the time, says a team led by Bert H. Hodges of Gordon College and the University of Connecticut. Why did they intentionally make statements that everyone knew to be wrong? Out of a desire to honestly communicate their own ignorance, the researchers say. The findings demonstrate that human interactions aren’t always guided by simplistic parameters such as accuracy or even conformity; sometimes, people make surprising choices in order to convey such internal values as truthfulness.

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