5) The $1/$20 experiment was conducted in 1959. $20 may not seem like much, but one needs to consider the relative buying power of $1 and $20. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics offers a calculator for the relative buying power on their website and notes that the minimum wage in 1959 was $1. In 1959, a loaf of bread cost 20 cents, gas was 25 cents/gallon, and a movie ticket cost a buck. In other words, would you lie for the price of admission to a movie? By contrast, would you think it is worth it now to lie for a meal at McDonalds or two cups of Starbucks coffee? At current inflation rates, today it would be $7.49/ $149.87 experiment. Though not as appealing a moniker, knowing the value of the dollars might change the your perception. Would they lie for $7.49? How about for $150?
After considering and sharing your answer to the above, also discuss the following:
As Em notes and asks, the results of Festinger’s famous $1/$20 experiment can be explained in a number of ways. Which explanation do you find most satisfying? Furthermore, Festinger and Carlsmith’s findings are based on a belief that the $1 liars really think they’re telling the truth when they claim to have enjoyed the boring task. Is this assumption warranted? Are there other explanations besides the minimal justification hypothesis for why some people would lie for so little compensation?
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