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.

The prevalent theory of dishonesty

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.

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To lie is human
  • Lying is something that most people are very practiced in. We lie in big and small ways, to strangers, co-workers, friends, and loved ones.
  • Researchers found that people lie on average one or two times a day, mostly to hide inadequacies or to protect others' feelings.
  • Many lie and deceive to gain unjust rewards.
  • Sometimes people lie to inflate their image or to cover up bad behavior.
  • Even science contains deceivers, such as physicist Jan Hendrik Schön, who claimed a breakthrough in molecular semiconductor research, which later proved to be fraudulent.

Why We Lie: The Science Behind Our Deceptive Ways

nationalgeographic.com

The “IKEA effect”

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.

The IKEA effect: how we value the fruits of our labour over instant gratification

theconversation.com

Lies Motivated By Compassion

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.

The Consequences of Dishonesty | SPSP

spsp.org

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