Study examining the relationship between young-adult egocentrism and the propensity to lie, lying effectiveness, and deception detection

Christopher W. Collen, The College of Wooster


This psychological study examined the relationship between egocentrism and the propensity to lie, effectiveness of lying, and detection of dishonesty in college students. Egocentrism, a psychological concept defined as the human tendency to identify, comprehend, and interpret the world in terms of the self has a significant influence on human behavior. Fifty-five College of Wooster students enrolled in psychology courses were given questionnaires measuring the two variables: the Adolescent Egocentrism Scale and a Propensity to Lie Scale. Later, those participants exhibiting the four highest and four lowest levels of egocentrism were asked to complete a video-recorded task viewed by a panel of 18 evaluators to determine the effectiveness of their lies. Egocentrism levels were negatively correlated with dishonest action within academic settings. No significant relationship existed between egocentrism levels and lying effectiveness. Males revealed a greater propensity to lie overall, in academic settings, and within romantic relationships. Participants reported a greater propensity to lie pro-socially than antisocially. Likewise, participants reported a greater propensity to lie in academic settings than within romantic relationships. Egocentrism levels were negatively correlated with the ability to accurately detect dishonesty, while the propensity to lie was positively correlated with accuracy in detection. The results of the study add to the general body of psychological knowledge and could affect practices within the academic, business, clinical, and social world. Further research has the potential to corroborate significant findings and improve upon techniques used to determine the examined relationships.