Study Suggests These Are the Least Honest Countries
Here's how the US did
By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 17, 2015 7:47 AM CST
Let's shake on it.   (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

(Newser) – China ranks as one of the least honest countries and the UK as one of the most, if a new study out of the University of East Anglia in the UK holds any weight. Presenting their findings at the London Experimental Workshop this week, researchers say they analyzed more than 1,500 people, roughly 100 from each of 15 countries, as they took two tests in which cheating was financially incentivized. It turns out that overall, there was "significant evidence" of lying in all countries, the lead researcher says, but the levels vary widely. Those in China appeared most likely to cheat on a coin toss test (those in the UK were least likely), in which they were paid $3 to $5 for every head they flipped and were thus spotted cheating if they reported too many (as Smithsonian notes in an unrelated article, a coin should come up heads nearly 50% of the time).

Those in Turkey, meanwhile, were most likely to cheat on a challenging six-question music quiz (this time Japan and then the UK came in as least likely to cheat), where half the answers were virtually impossible to get right without looking online, which they were asked not to do. As for the US, we were the eighth most honest country on the coin flip, and the third on the music quiz—though perhaps more of us happen to know Lady Gaga's first name and Michael Jackson's birthplace, which were deemed two of the "very difficult" questions. The study found people are guilty of projecting as well, reports Pacific Standard, with the least honest among us the most likely to think others cheat more than they actually do. A press release notes that, "surprisingly," people also thought less of the honesty of their compatriots than of the honesty of those in other countries. (Some 27% of adults lie about this habit.)