Deception in Experiments: The Costs of an Alleged Method of Last Resort

Research article
deception in experiments
meta issue
Hertwig, R., & Ortmann, A. (2002). Deception in Experiments: The Costs of an Alleged Method of Last Resort. working paper. Australian Business School at UNSW, Sydney, Australia. TBD [working paper].
PDF icon Working paper (last updated OCT. 2002)129.45 KB
Summary / Abstract: 

Abstract: In psychology, deception is commonly used to increase experimental control. Yet, its use has provoked concerns that it raises participants' suspicions, prompts second-guessing of experimenters' true intentions, and ultimately distorts behavior and the control it is meant to achieve. These concerns can and have been subjected to empirical analysis. Our review of the evidence yielded two key results: First, there is evidence that participants who experienced deception firsthand are likely to become suspicious and that there are non-negligible differences between suspicious and reportedly na‹ve participants. Second, there are surprisingly few studies addressing the question of whether suspicion can result from secondhand experience with deception such as undergraduate psychology training or the profession's reputation more generally. In light of the latter finding, we propose an incentive-compatible mechanism designed to encourage researchers to search for and implement alternatives that forego deception. Thus, making this tool truly the strategy of last resort, as intended by the rules of conduct of the American Psychological Association.Note. This is a working paper. It was retrieved form the Authors web page on 30th of May, 2014. This is the exact link:,Oct.7,2002).pdf The contents on this page and the direct link, may have changed since then.