We investigate the influence of self and social image concerns as potential sources of lying costs across two studies (n=991). In Experiment 1, in a standard die-rolling paradigm, we exogenously manipulate self-awareness and observability, which direct the focus of a person on their private and public selves, respectively. We find that our self-awareness manipulation has no effect on overreporting in comparison to a control treatment, while our observability manipulation significantly decreases reports. In Experiment 2, we introduce a design that allows to compare the effects of self and social image concerns by directing the focus either on oneself or on an external observer while keeping constant the set of observers and their information. In line with the results from Experiment 1, people lie significantly less when their focus is on the external observer rather than on themselves.
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