Reliability of Reasons Used in Making Judgments of Honesty and Dishonesty

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57 Ss were asked to observe 4 role-playing situations involving a student-professor interview and a question of honesty or dishonesty. After each interview Ss were asked to: (1) judge the honesty of the student involved and (2) list his behaviors which contributed to the judgment. An interaction was found between judging ability and deceiving ability, with some cases harder to detect than others, and some judges better than others. Individuals made more correct choices than chance would predict. However, the reasons given for judgments were very much the same for those making correct and incorrect judgments, as well as for very good and very poor judges. Almost all information could be interpreted either in favor of or against the student. It appears that, when evidence is lacking, decisions will be made and defended but that observers do not use logic in arriving at the decision.

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