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This research analyzed whether political leaders make people lie via priming experiments. Priming is a non-conscious and implicit memory effect in which exposure to one stimulus affects the response to another. Following priming theories, we proposed an innovative concept that people who perceive leaders to be dishonest (such as liars) are likely to lie themselves. We designed three experiments to analyze and critically discussed the potential influence of prime effect on lying behavior, through the prime effect of French political leaders (including general politicians, presidents and parties). Experiment 1 discovered that participants with non-politician-prime were less likely to lie (compared to politician-prime). Experiment 2A discovered that, compared to Hollande-prime, Sarkozy-prime led to lying behavior both in gravity (i.e., bigger lies) and frequency (i.e., lying more frequently). Experiment 2B discovered that Republicans-prime yielded an impact on more lying behavior, and Sarkozy-prime made such impact even stronger. Overall, the research findings suggest that lying can be triggered by external influencers such as leaders, presidents and politicians in the organizations. Our findings have provided valuable insights into organizational leaders and managers in their personnel management practice, especially in the intervention of lying behavior. Our findings also have offered new insights to explain non-conscious lying behavior.
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- Politicians lie, so do I
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