Morals or ethics tilt behaviors
People that are required to put their signature at the top of a document instead of the bottom are more likely to provide truthful information.
They are confirming that the information they’re about to provide is true before they have a chance to falsify it.
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People often feel the need to rationalize their dishonesty. The danger is taking that first step.
The story of Joe Papp, an Olympic cyclist falls into this category. Papp consulted his physician, who wrote Papp a prescription for erythropoietin (EPO), a cancer treatment that increases the production of red blood cells. Papp injected himself, but also imported and distributed EPO to his team and to other teams. This essentially made him a drug dealer.
From a legal perspective, dishonesty is the idea of cost-benefit analysis. When people think about being dishonest, they wonder what can be gained or what can be lost. If the cost of lying is too high, they are not going to be dishonest.
If you make things more laborious, the consumers will value them more.
In the 1950s, a US food company wanted to sell more of its brand of instant cake mixes. They were advised to replace powdered eggs with fresh eggs because the all-instant cake mix makes baking too easy. It undervalues the labor and skill of the cake maker.
When we decide to lie, we privilege some other value over honesty. The value is often compassion, as people lie more about their feelings than about anything else.
Those who tell prosocial lies are often viewed as more trustworthy and more moral than are people who tell harsh truths. However, not all prosocial lying driven by compassion yields benefits. People who receive overly positive feedback about their abilities are susceptible to thinking they will succeed in enterprises with very low chances of success and may therefore launch ill-advised ventures.
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