Collective Punishment and Cheating in the Die-Under-the-Cup Task

Erez Siniver, Yossef Tobol, Gideon Yaniv

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A popular tool in the experimental research on dishonest behavior is the die-under-the-cup (DUTC) task in which subjects roll a die in private and report the outcome to the experimenter after being promised a payoff which increases with the die's outcome. The present paper reports the results of incorporating collective punishment into the DUTC task. We ran two experiments, each involving two rounds of the task performed in a computer lab. Despite being asked not to cheat, the average reported outcome in the first round exceeded the statistical expectancy of 3.5. The second round of the first experiment involved the threat that if this happened again, each subject would be fined by the difference between the average reported outcome and 3.5. Nevertheless, the average reported outcome in the second round significantly exceeded that of the first round. Running a second experiment, this time without the punishment threat, we ruled out the possibility that the increased cheating in the second round of the first experiment was due to a feedback effect, concluding that the threat of collective punishment acted to encourage cheating rather than helped deterring it.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40-45
Number of pages6
JournalExperimental Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2022
Externally publishedYes

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  • cheating
  • collective punishment
  • die-under-the-cup task
  • dishonest behavior


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