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Classifying Prosocial Lies

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An Empirical Approach

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The term prosocial lies refers to lies speakers produce with benevolent intentions. Such lies can be further divided into categories depending upon the context of utterance and the person who benefits from the lie (Levine and Schweitzer, 2014). This paper defines prosocial lies as a distinct pragmatic category of a lie. In order to examine this category, university students were provided with 10 vignettes containing prosocial lies and were asked (using a Likert Scale) whether they considered each target utterance to be a lie, a polite utterance, and an act benefiting the speaker and/or the hearer. The results show that prosocial lies are judged as lies proper. Furthermore, the study gives support for several categories of prosocial lies.

Affiliations: 1: University of Mainz mehornun@uni-mainz.de

10.1163/18773109-00802003
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/content/journals/10.1163/18773109-00802003
2016-01-01
2018-06-24

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