Ariely: Small-scale cheating allows us to still feel good about ourselves
The consequences of our actions have little to no effect on dishonesty. Studies have shown even the death penalty does not influence crime levels.
Rather than thinking of the costs and benefits of their actions, people find ways to rationalize them.
“What happens is that on one hand, we want to look at the mirror and feel good about ourselves. We want to feel that we’re honest, wonderful people,” said Dan Ariely during Monday’s morning lecture. “On the other hand, we want to benefit from cheating. That’s our selfish impulses.”
Ariely, the James. B. Duke Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics at Duke University, kicked off Week Seven, “The Ethics of Cheating,” with a lecture about people’s use of rationalism to justify dishonesty. Throughout his lecture, titled “Free Beer,” he shared several experiments conducted by his team at Duke University.