The Situationist

Posts Tagged ‘cheating’

The Creative Situation of Cheating

Posted by The Situationist Staff on December 2, 2011

From the American Psychological Association:

Creative people are more likely to cheat than less creative people, possibly because this talent increases their ability to rationalize their actions, according to research published by the American Psychological Association.

“Greater creativity helps individuals solve difficult tasks across many domains, but creative sparks may lead individuals to take unethical routes when searching for solutions to problems and tasks,” said lead researcher Francesca Gino, PhD, of Harvard University.

Gino and her co-author, Dan Ariely, PhD, of Duke University, conducted a series of five  experiments to test their thesis that more creative people would cheat under circumstances where they could justify their bad behavior. Their research was published online in APA’s Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

The researchers used a series of recognized psychological tests and measures to gauge research subjects’ creativity. They also tested participants’ intelligence. In each of the five experiments, participants received a small sum for showing up. Then, they were presented with tasks or tests where they could be paid more if they cheated. For example, in one experiment, participants took a general knowledge quiz in which they circled their answers on the test paper. Afterward, the experimenter told them to transfer their answers to “bubble sheets” – but the experimenter told the group she had photocopied the wrong sheet and that the correct answers were lightly marked. The experimenters also told participants they would be paid more for more correct answers and led them to believe that they could cheat without detection when transferring their answers. However, all the papers had unique identifiers.

The results showed the more creative participants were significantly more likely to cheat, and that there was no link between intelligence and dishonesty – i.e., more intelligent but less creative people were not more inclined toward dishonesty.

In another experiment, test subjects were shown drawings with dots on two sides of a diagonal line and asked to indicate whether there were more dots on the left side or right side. In half of 200 trials, it was virtually impossible to tell whether there were more dots on one side or another. However, participants were told they’d be paid 10 times as much (5 cents vs. 0.5 cents) for each time they said there were more dots on the right side. As predicted, the more creative participants were significantly more likely to give the answer that paid more.

“Dishonesty and innovation are two of the topics most widely written about in the popular press,” the authors wrote. “Yet, to date, the relationship between creativity and dishonest behavior has not been studied empirically. … The results from the current article indicate that, in fact, people who are creative or work in environments that promote creative thinking may be the most at risk when they face ethical dilemmas.”

The authors concede some important limitations in their work, most notably that they created situations in which participants were tempted by money to cheat. They suggested that future research should investigate whether creativity would lead people to satisfy selfish, short-term goals rather than their higher aspirations when faced with self-control dilemmas, such as eating a slice of cake when trying to lose weight.

More.

The Dark Side of Creativity (PDF, 185KB)

Related Situationist posts:

Posted in Abstracts, Morality | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

Stealing from the Blind

Posted by The Situationist Staff on June 15, 2010

Here is another segment from John Quinones excellent ABC 20/20 series titled “What Would You Do?” — a series that, in essence, conducts situationist experiments through hidden-camera scenarios. This episode asks, “Would you help if you witnessed a blind person being given incorrect change? (and includes analysis from social psychologist Carrie Keating).

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To review a sample of related Situationist posts, see “Journalists as Social Psychologists & Social Psychologists as Entertainers,” “Stop that Thief! (or not),” “Dan Ariely on Cheating,” “The Death of Free Will and the Rise of Cheating,” “Ugly See, Ugly Do,” “When Thieves See Situation,” and Cheating Doesn’t Pay . . . So Why So Much of it?.”

Posted in Life, Morality, Video | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

The Situation of Being Green

Posted by The Situationist Staff on May 25, 2010

Nina Mazar and Chen-Bo Zhong recently posted their article, titled “Do Green Products Make Us Better People?” (forthcoming Psychological Science) on SSRN.

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Consumer choices not only reflect price and quality preferences but also social and moral values as witnessed in the remarkable growth of the global market for organic and environmentally friendly products. Building on recent research on behavioral priming and moral regulation, we find that mere exposure to green products and the purchase of them lead to markedly different behavioral consequences. In line with the halo associated with green consumerism, people act more altruistically after mere exposure to green than conventional products. However, people act less altruistically and are more likely to cheat and steal after purchasing green products as opposed to conventional products. Together, the studies show that consumption is more tightly connected to our social and ethical behaviors in directions and domains other than previously thought.

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You can download the article for free here.  For a sample of related Situationist posts, see “Denial,”The Situational Effects of Hand-Washing,” Unclean Hands,” Bargh and Baumeister and the Free Will DebatePart I & Part IISocial Psychology and the Unconscious: The Automaticity of Higher Processes,”Situation of Consumption,” The Color of Sex Appeal,” “The Primitive Appeal of The Color Red,” and The (Unconscious) Situation of our Consciousness – Part I, Part II, Part III, & Part IV.”

Posted in Abstracts, Choice Myth, Marketing, Morality | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

The Situation of Cheating

Posted by The Situationist Staff on November 22, 2009

Behavioral economist Dan Ariely, in the following video, describes one of his fascinating studies on the situation of cheating.

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For a sample of related Situationist posts, see “The Interior Situation of Honesty (and Dishonesty),” The Situation of Lying,” “The Facial Obviousness of Lying,” Cheating Doesn’t Pay . . . So Why So Much of it?,” “Dan Ariely, a Situationist,” Dan Ariely on Cheating,”and “Unclean Hands.”

Posted in Behavioral Economics, Life, Video | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Dan Ariely on Cheating

Posted by The Situationist Staff on March 21, 2009

From TED: “Behavioral economist Dan Ariely studies the bugs in our moral code: the hidden reasons we think it’s OK to cheat or steal (sometimes). Clever studies help make his point that we’re predictably irrational — and can be influenced in ways we can’t grasp.”

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To read a related Situationist post, see “Predictably Irrational.”

Posted in Behavioral Economics, Choice Myth, Morality, Video | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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