We have been doing some research on the effects of wearing fake…
Here is a short video on this
Really interesting. Makes sense. If behavior is an expression of the possibilities in one’s self-image and world-view, a willingness to wear the knock-off sunglasses affirms a self-image which says, “I’m okay with (some degree of) dishonesty.”
I just read something about infomercials. The scourge of the businesses producing them is the knock-off product. Tens of millions of dollars are to me made, but the cost of court settlements to those who produce the knock-offs appears to be less than the profits to them. So the practice of fakery will continue.
At the same time, what’s to be said about those who “must have” the real thing? (Buying “designer” anything seems shallow to me.) But in the recent process of buying a new car I was fascinated to discover how powerful self-image is in choosing. I wanted a car which reflected a self-image (real or idealized) back to me, and presumably, to project that to the world.
It seems there’s no escaping the visceral demand for status — even if it’s an illusion.
I wonder if you could somehow extend this line of reasoning to test behaviour of those that engage in serial ‘cheating’ versus those that do not. I’m thinking, specifically, about people who pirate software, music, or video off the internet. Basically, they are cheating every time they do it, but maybe a social norm has developed which permits such behaviour without triggering a conscious “I’m cheating” realization?
Very interesting stuff.
Here’s an idea: charging a high price for something, when an unbranded/differently branded alternative, or a fake, can offer something of similar quality for a fraction of the cost, could also be considered ‘cheating’. If someone feels they are simply being asked to pay for a name, perhaps they feel cheated by the brand? And so buying a fake to get the cachet that comes with the product is a way of achieving justice?
I wonder is this concept would apply to cosmetic surgery, fake nails, hair extensions, or fake hair color.
I love this so much, I actually sent it to some fashion blogs but I see anyone post it.
One question I have is that people in the study aren’t actually cheating, but instead they are reminded that cheating exists when receiving the fake over the real glasses. Thus id take this to be the opposite of the ten commandments in the book where instead of people are reminded of morals that cheating is reduced that here they are reminded that cheaters exist thus they cheat. I think this is a slight difference to what you present, but might have broader implications. Thus maybe watching a show like cheaters might reduce people’s morality, or watching or reading the news that is filled with crime might lead to additional crime or immorality!
Dan – Interesting …. I’m thinking about your examples in the book, such as the airlines and credit card companies, that slide into cheating their customers. How interesting it would be to study the dishonest behavior of people inside the companies who make fake goods … Maybe the IRS wants to prioritize audits of companies who sell fake Rolexes …
Perhaps corruption in China is influenced by the prevalence of counterfeit products.
Dan, great stuff as usual. I’m curious if you have anything showing if fake sunglasses push real sunglasses out of circulation? Gresham’s law of sunglasses. :-P
Convincing stuff. But it brings up another question for me. What if I wear a fake and if anyone asks about it I immediately admit it is a knockoff. My ego isn’t tied into everyone knowing the rolex is real. It was a gift and I didn’t care if it was a Timex.
Would I still be more likely to lie and cheat?
I believe this study shows that those who’s self image is tied into the items they wear are more likely to lie and cheat.
I would like to see this study done with those who are honest about the fakes and those who arent honest about the fakes. Then let’s see if both groups are equally likely to continue to lie or cheat.
On a side note. I really wish we could get these types of studies used in our public policies. Dan Ariely for President! or at least VP eh?
I’m curious if someone like me who is entirely ignorant of fashion brands would be effected in the same way. To me the word “fake” has almost no meaning in this context. If the glasses are actual sunglasses, then they are not FAKE sunglasses. They’re simply sunglasses. They may be knock-offs, but unless they have a false label that doesn’t strike me as ethically problematic.
Is a luxury sunglass company cheating it’s luxury clients if it sells the exact same glasses under a different name for 10% of the luxury price?
I had a client once (I’m a photographer) which sold their luxury sun glasses for $125-$150. To capture the low end of the market they sold the same glasses with a different logo for $10-$15. I asked them if there was any difference. They said the $10-$15 glasses were aimed at the low end price point for big discount stores.
This happens in so many other areas. Bakeries for instance, jewelry is another. How do women feel when they wear a fake diamond? Do they find it more difficult to accept compliments on the fake jewels?
In baked goods, most, really MOST, bakeries use cake mixes, factory made “custards” that have no relationship to real custard at all, and whipped toppings that have no dairy in them. If you ask, they say those are items made from scratch but they lie. They, imho, are lying or wording their descriptions to hide the fact that they are cheating and making products that are full of synthetic chemicals. But if one eats only wholesome and clean baked goods, with real creams and custards, one can tell. Too often it’s after one has already purchased the product and wasted one’s money.
Ok, so I’m a pastry chef and have a personal agenda. I use only real food/high quality ingredients.
However, if the customer doesn’t know the difference between a mediocre product and a really great product, who got cheated? There are some people who want the nasty stuff.
Sorry, I rambled off topic.
I was wondering if there is a way to test the concept of “asking for forgiveness” as a mechanism to reset your state of morality… it seems knowing you have done something immoral justifies doing more things immoral… so if after an immoral act you asked for forgiveness, are you less exposed to doing more immoral acts?
This is particularly fascinating to me, since i am a Muslim, and in our holy book , Quran, it states that performing the daily prayers (5 times a day) prevents you from doing immoral acts. It also says that one should ask for forgiveness after doing something immoral. In Islam, unlike Catholicism the act of asking for forgiveness however, is said to be kept private (between you and god). This is said to be because public admission to immorality would induce immoral behaviours in others.
You may be wrong. Is it the wearing of the fakes or the reals, or is it the perception of receiving something of value or receiving something of less value that causes the increased tendency to cheat?
Being given a gift might engender positive emotions and thus result in more honest responses. A “fake” must be a “fake” of something “real” and thus can reasonably be assumed to be of lesser value than the “real.” Being given a gift of implied reduced value may be the cause of the increased tendency to cheat rather than the person feeling like a cheat by wearing the glasses.
Try offering something other than glasses of implied value and something of implied “reduced value” (knock-off, refurb, or slightly imperpect) and see if the results are the same. Then offer something of low perceived value (real but cheap) and something of high perceived value (real and expensive) and measure the results.
A critique of the method and conclusion – not of the hypothesis and results.
[…] pocos días el video que les muestro aquí debajo de Dan Ariely, investigador especializado en economías del comportamiento, en el cual habla acerca de un […]
How was placebo/nocebo of the original judging/sorting assessed or accounted for or eliminated as a potentially confounding factor in the study?
It seems to me that the cheating and so on had less to do with the perception of whether the sunglasses were real or fake, and might have had more to do with expectation pathways having been triggered.
[…] can also see this, and comments on it, at the Predictably Irrational website itself. What I’m most interested in at the moment: people who think of themselves as fake in […]
[…] Dan’s blog is a must read […]
[…] Professor Dan Ariely’s research with people who were told they were wearing “fake” designer sunglasses were found significantly […]
To me, there is a glaring flaw in the experiment’s apparent quantification of morality amounting to no less than an error of logic.
The researcher supposes a correlation between people giving intentional wrong dot counts for money and hypothetical “moral doctors” whom of course do not “cheat” like the dot counters.
The FALLACY is one of inappropriate analogy because while the doctor knows he will intentionally cause harm for cheating, the dot counters cannot cause any real harm in their cheating.
Another lose for poorly executed experimental psychology, and another win for logical reasoning…
I have a real diamond ring and a real diamond bracelet and I have no problem wearing my cz star necklace and cz hoop earrings at the same time. If someone asks me if my cz’s are real I will say NO. I bought them because they are beautiful and sparkly and we all know diamonds are not really as rare as companies make them out to be. Its just a way for them to rack up the prices. If its pretty and still a good quality product I’ll totally sport it without lying. To me its valuable and beautiful too
I wonder how this line of reasoning applies to other things like the drinking age or the speed limit … we basically encourage kids to break the law in the US with a high drinking age … few people follow speed limits … does this lead to more laws being broken … more cheating?
Does this also apply to plastic surgery such as breast implants?
[…] Dan Ariely has educated us on the internal cost of wearing fake goods through some interesting experiments. It turns out ‘fake’ is a state of mind. Not […]
Hi, I’m Dan Ariely. I do research in behavioral economics and try to describe it in plain language. These findings have enriched my life, and my hope is that they will do the same for you.
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