Collaborative Dishonesty: A Meta-Analytic Review

Margarita Leib, Nils Köbis, Ivan Soraperra, Ori Weisel, Shaul Shalvi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Although dishonesty is often a social phenomenon, it is primarily studied in individual settings. However, people frequently collaborate and engage in mutual dishonest acts. We report the first meta-analysis on collaborative dishonesty, analyzing 87,771 decisions (21 behavioral tasks; k = 123; nparticipants = 10,923). We provide an overview of all tasks used to measure collaborative dishonesty, and inform theory by conducting moderation analyses. Results reveal that collaborative dishonesty is higher (a) when financial incentives are high, (b) in lab than field studies, (c) when third parties experience no negative consequences, (d) in the absence of experimental deception, and (e) when groups consist of more males and (f) younger individuals. Further, in repeated interactions, group members’ behavior is correlated—participants lie more when their partners lie—and lying increases as the task progresses. These findings are in line with the justified ethicality theoretical perspective, suggesting prosocial concerns increase collaborative dishonesty, whereas honest-image concerns attenuate it.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1241-1268
Number of pages28
JournalPsychological Bulletin
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Behavioral ethics
  • Collaboration
  • Group decision-making
  • Honesty
  • Morality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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