Thursday, October 10, 2013
Cheating’s Surprising Thrill; New York Times, 10/7/13
Jan Hoffman, New York Times; Cheating’s Surprising Thrill: "When was the last time you cheated? Not on the soul-scorching magnitude of, say, Bernie Madoff, Lance Armstrong or John Edwards. Just nudge-the-golf-ball cheating. Maybe you rounded up numbers on an expense report. Let your eyes wander during a high-stakes exam. Or copied a friend’s expensive software. And how did you feel afterward? You may recall nervousness, a twinge of guilt. But new research shows that as long as you didn’t think your cheating hurt anyone, you may have felt great. The discomfort you remember feeling then may actually be a response rewritten now by your inner moral authority, your “should” voice. Unethical behavior is increasingly studied by psychologists and management specialists. They want to understand what prompts people to abrogate core values, why cheating appears to be on the rise, and what interventions can be made. To find a powerful tool to turn people toward ethical decisions, many researchers have focused on the guilt that many adults feel after cheating. So some behavioral ethics researchers were startled by a study published recently in The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology by researchers at the University of Washington, the London Business School, Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania. The title: “The Cheater’s High: The Unexpected Affective Benefits of Unethical Behavior.”... The impact is real: According to some estimates, software piracy costs companies $63 billion a year globally."