Do officers fib?

By Ann Konzal
Informa Systems, Inc.

The following is sponsored content from Informa Systems, Inc.

Is cheating instinctive or calculating? It is actually both. The degree, to which we lie, however, can be dependent on two factors: How much TIME we are given to answer questions, and whether or not we know that a third-party will VERIFY our statements.

Informa Systems conducted an experiment with online learning. Multiple-choice questions were created that participants were required to answer online. Officers were informed that their scores WERE NOT recorded in the test (although they actually were). The officers were instructed to record their own grades. The average grade that the officers reported was 76%. However, their actual grades scored averaged 71% -- a difference of 5%. The participants were guilty of grade inflation! Then, a second set of participants were asked to answer the questions, but were told that their scores were being recorded. Interestingly, the difference between average grades reported and recorded this time dropped to 2%.  So, it looks like we lie less if we know that someone is checking up on what we say.

How quickly we are forced to respond also impacts our decision to lie. In 2012, The Economist published results of an experiment conducted by Shaul Shalvi, a psychologist at the University of Amsterdam. After running a number of experiments involving money and gambling dice, it was concluded that participants were more likely to lie if pressed for an immediate answer to questions when a reward (money in this case) is at stake. Participants lied with more frequency when they had to immediately report the total points rolled. Given 20 seconds to think about it, they lied less.

So it seems that lying is influenced by our human instinct as well as our own calculations. And since we are, apparently, all prone to it, can technology set up systems to minimize it?

InformaOne, our LE training management system, traces every answer and time answered, and the IP address of the machine where tests are performed. InformaOne can also insert challenge/response questions periodically as a test is being performed. For example, halfway through a test the user may be asked, “What was the last course you took?”, or a security question such as “What is your mother’s maiden name?” These types of questions, although not foolproof, do greatly reduce the incidences of cheating.

And that is no lie.

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