Rule‐breaking in an anonymous situation: When people decide to deviate from existing rules

Tatsuya Nogami, Fujio Yoshida
Published Online:
05 Feb 2014
Volume/Issue No:
Volume 48 Issue 6

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The present study examined how soon people would make a decision to break existing rules in an anonymous situation, with particular attention paid to the degree of anonymity. A total of 100 participants were randomly assigned to either a self‐reward condition or an other‐reward condition, in both of which they were asked to flip a coin twice in each of the four coin‐flip trials to win the assigned reward. As predicted, the results showed that only participants in the self‐reward condition broke the assignment rules for obtaining the reward, and they only did so in the very last coin‐flip trial. In sum, the present findings suggest that people do not break existing rules for material gain as soon as they become anonymized, but some may do so at the very last moment.

© International Union of Psychological Science