Date of Award

Spring 6-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Forensic Psychology



First Advisor

Angela M. Crossman, Ph.D.

Second Reader

Ma'at E. Lewis, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Jennifer E. Dysart, Ph.D.


Previous literature suggests that mothers may stand out as unique lie recipients in terms of perceptions of lie acceptability and that this may be related to the influence of cultural values – that mothers are special and, thus, must not be lied to. However, recent work suggests that this may not be the case. Instead, parental status may be the driving factor behind differences in perceptions of lie acceptability. Nevertheless, cultural values seem to influence perceptions of lie acceptability. The purpose of the present study was to further explore the role of culture in perceptions of lie acceptability. Participants rated the acceptability of lies depicted in various vignettes, where the lies varied by lie type and lie domain, as well as lie recipient. Participants also completed instruments measuring endorsement of traditional Mexican American cultural values. Lie acceptability was analyzed as a function of these factors. We found that only some of our hypotheses were supported. For example, the more participants endorsed specific traditional Mexican American cultural values, the less acceptable they rated certain lies to be, and this was moderated by lie type and lie domain. Also, while participants did not differentiate between mothers and fathers, they also did not differentiate between parents and other authority figures. Findings illustrate the complexities of and cultural influences on perceptions of lie acceptability.



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