- As a social species, we have strong motivations to behave prosocially, and honesty is a key element of prosociality.
- The field needs a broad meta-theoretical perspective that ties all the work on honesty and dishonesty together.
- A proposed theory posits that dishonesty occurs as a function of perceived utility of lying, external disutility risk, and internal disutility.
It turns out that what separates the honest from the dishonest boils down to three distinct variables. Once those three factors are understood, it becomes quite easy to predict when people will lie, cheat and steal and be sincere and behave with integrity.
In summary, the tripartite theory of dishonesty posits that the decision to be dishonest (D) is a function (f) of the expected utility of dishonesty (U), the expected external disutility of dishonesty (ED), and the expected internal disutility of dishonesty (ID).