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Study: Women Lied To More Often Than Men, Viewed As 'Less Competent' In Negotiations

Berkeley, Calif. (CBS SACRAMENTO) -- Women are deceived more often than men and are more likely to be perceived as easily misled in negotiations as they project less confidence and knowledge in business matters.

A study from researchers at the University of California, Berkeley and the University of Pennsylvania finds that women are more often deceived by salesmen and business negotiators because they are viewed as "warmer" and "less competent" than men.

The study used a three-part study to identify: Are women stereotyped as more easily misled than men? How do perceptions of competence and warmth contribute to this stereotype? And lastly, are patterns of deception consistent with this gender stereotype?

The authors manipulated the gender of prospective buyers to determine how the "perceived ease of being misled" and one's "perceived confidence" directly related to negotiators using lower ethical standards to achieve financial gain at another person's expense. The researchers used online surveys and role playing to test U.S. workers and M.B.A. students in altered scenarios in which gender and ethics intertwined. Although women were perceived as more easily misled, negotiators were more likely to take advantage of those showing less competence and business knowledge regardless of gender.

"We found that in the role play, people were significantly more likely to blatantly lie to women," the study's lead author, Laura Kray, told Slate about one of the hypothetical buyer experiments. "To women, for instance, the buyer's agents would say, 'They will be luxury condos,' but to men, they would say, 'I can't tell you.'"

In one experiment, 24 percent of men said they lied to a female study participant, but only 3 percent of men admitted lying to a male participant.

And women also lied to other women more often than they lied to men in the negotiations. Women lied to men in 11 percent of the scenarios, while lying to women 17 percent of the time.

"As expected, negotiators deceived women more so than men, thus leading women into more deals under false pretenses than men," the study authors concluded. "Consistent with car salesman's intuition, women were perceived as more easily misled negotiators than were perceived as especially difficult to mislead."

Of the M.B.A. students studied, 75 percent of those enrolled in the course were male.

"People are aware of stereotypes, and use them to their advantage when they're motivated to do so," Kray told Slate. "Men were more likely to be given preferential treatment," the study also showed that buyer's agents revealed their client's true intentions to men saying things such as, "I'm not supposed to tell you this, but … " a bit of privileged information never revealed to women.

The study authors concluded: "In addition to being offered less favorable deal terms and incurring social penalties for negotiating that men escape, women are also disproportionately targeted for opportunistic deception…Women were told more blatant lies than men, and men were provided more honest responses than women. The gender bias in deception appears driven by a greater propensity to tell women blatant lies in a situation in which men tend to be told the truth."

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