Signing Forms at the Top Makes People More Honest

Simply by signing documents at the start rather than end, people might be encouraged to behave more honestly.

The effect was demonstrated in a series of staged and real-world experiments, which included moving signature lines from bottom to top on car insurance reports.

On car insurance forms, customers were asked to report the number of miles on their cars’ odometers. For those customers signing at the top, the average reported mileage was over 2,400 miles higher than for bottom-signers.

While actual mileage couldn’t be verified, variance of that magnitude in such a large, randomly divided group suggests a difference in reporting ethics, not driving habits, especially given the incentive — lower insurance premiums — of under-reporting mileage. Learn more here.

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