Honour code for research participants?

Hi Prolificos,
I recently read an article by Meade & Craig about careless responses in surveys. They used a statement at the beginning of the survey to discourage careless responses. They used this statement:

“Your honest and thoughtful responses are important to us and to the study. Remember that your honesty and thoughtful responses are subject to [the university’s] academic integrity policy.”

I wonder if this could be adapted for Prolific, e.g. by appealing to an honour code for participants. Do participants agree to something like that when they sign up?

Does anyone have experience with using a statement like this in online studies?

Meade, A. W., & Craig, S. B. (2012). Identifying careless responses in survey data. Psychological Methods , 17 (3), 437–455. APA PsycNet

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Very interesting! Was the statement effective at all?

The paper is downloadable here. I could not find the effect of such statements but there is a nice list of nonsensey items on page 48


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They say the following “Strong warnings about violations of the honor code approached significance with respect to decreasing respondent self-reported attitude toward the study”. However, it is a bit difficult to isolate the effect because they combined different manipulations.

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decreasing respondent self-reported attitude toward the study

Do they mean decreasing the chances of a careless response?

I’m asking b/c I’m giving a presentation tomorrow about the things our community is talking about, and this could be an interesting experiment to run :thinking:

Yes, they asked participants to rate their carelessness. The warning decreased their self-reported carelessness. This study was done with a student sample for course credit. It would be really interesting to see if this could have a statement like this could have an impact on online panels, too.

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That’s great. I’m going to start a conversation with our team about this :slight_smile:

hi @Joe_Bathelt & @Josh , I’m not familiar with the work referenced in this thread on carelessness, but a closely related line of work - the effect of signing a statement of honesty on honest responses - was recently revealed as based on fraudulent data.
Replication attempts have demonstrated no effect of signing an honesty statement on honest responding

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Thank you, that’s good to know!

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That’s great context - thanks Paul!

Wow…None other than the TED Talking, best selling, celebrity psychologist Dan Ariely! I have been using his work in my lectures. To be honest, his signature research on the effect of having a decoy on who subjects would wish to date, where a very large proportion of of respondents chose to date the person who was matched with the decoy based on real life experiences of going for drinks with his brother, struct me as being almost too good to be true. Dan Ariely was in a car accident leaving him with facial deformity, whereas his brother is unscathed.

Briefly analysing the apology letters from each of the four original authors, the number of words used was
And the number of times the author used “years” or any other method of suggesting that the problem occurred a long time ago

Very cherry picked, but these characteristics stood out.

I used Ariely’s argument’s regarding the decoy effect in my lectures but Googling decoy effect and replication I see that others have not been able to replicate Ariely’s results.