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48% of social gamers cheat in real life

Dishonesty ranges from stealing hotel towels to being unfaithful

Nearly half (48 percent) of web users that cheat when playing social games, through sites like Facebook, also cheat in real life, says PopCap.

Research by the casual gaming firm of 1,200 web users in the UK and the US revealed social game cheaters are nearly 3.5 times as likely to be dishonest in the real world, covering everything from stealing hotel towels to not paying a taxi fare, than non-cheaters. Furthermore, while more women play social games compared to men (55 percent of players are female, compared to the 45 percent which are men), males are more likely to cheat in social games than women, as 54 percent of cheaters are men and just 46 percent are women.

Over half (53 percent) of gamers that cheat admitted to also cheating in tests at school, while 58 percent of British cheaters also admitted they'd lie when it comes to taxes compared to a third of US cheaters.

Just under half (48 percent) of UK cheaters claimed they'd park in a disabled space, despite not having a disability and 51 percent also admitted to cheating in a committed relationship as well. Meanwhile, 43 percent of cheaters have taken a magazine from a doctor or dentist's waiting room and 47 percent have taken butter, sugar or jam sachets from a restaurant.

"How we behave in virtual space and interact with others in social games often mirrors how we act in the real world," said Professor Clay Routledge of North Dakota State University's Department of Psychology.

"With more than 100 million people playing social games regularly, we can expect to see the full range of psychological characteristics represented in the social gaming population – even cheating."

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