COVID-19 Vaccination and Subsequent Dishonest Behavior: Experimental Evidence

Yossef Tobol, Erez Siniver, Gideon Yaniv

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


As of the beginning of 2021, the State of Israel, with a population of 9.3 million, had administered more coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccine doses than all countries aside from China, the United States, and the United Kingdom. The vaccine is administered in two doses, 21–28 days apart from each other, which are necessary to confer adequate immunity. The present paper reports the results of a field experiment designed to examine the hypothesis that the COVID-19 vaccination stimulates subsequent dishonest behavior. Specifically, people relaxing after receiving the first and second vaccine doses as well as people waiting to receive the first dose were invited to perform a money-rewarding simple task which involves an opportunity to cheat with no possible detection. Before performing the task, subjects filled out a questionnaire regarding the emotions they were experiencing at that moment. We hypothesized that the COVID-19 vaccination primes positive emotions which are known in the literature to promote cheating by increasing cognitive flexibility and lowering self-control. Therefore, we predicted that (a) people vaccinated with the first dose are more likely to subsequently lie than people who have not yet taken the vaccine and (b) people vaccinated with the second dose are more likely to lie than people vaccinated with the first dose or people who have not yet taken the vaccine.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)131-137
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Neuroscience, Psychology, and Economics
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 American Psychological Association


  • COVID-19
  • die-under-the-cup task
  • dishonest behavior
  • vaccination


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