Saturday, 1 August 2009

How do you quantify honesty?

It is very difficult to define what constitutes honest behaviour. We probably all have our own versions of what is morally right and wrong, and this is influenced by our own individual values, and the characteristics of the person being judged as potentially dishonest.
The judicial system has no definition of dishonesty and the concept is very blurred round the edges. Dr. Stefan Fafinski and Dr Emily Finch, experts I criminal law at Brunel University have devised an online survey to evaluate the boundaries between honest and dishonest behaviour. The survey is open to all and involves an on-line questionnaire of video clips of various scenarios. To take part visit

The results will be presented at the British Science Festival in September, and it is hoped they will be used improve decision making in law policy, which in turn could alter the way legal trials are conducted.


The Plashing Vole said...

Interesting. I had a go - it's not very nuanced but fascinating. Of course, how will they know whether I responded honestly or not?

Sue's Blog said...

I thought it was very subjective, because honesty is such a difficult concept to quantify.

They will never know how honest people's replies were - but if you deliberately mislead them, then you are a very naughty Vole and Mr Plod will have his beady eye on you.