From ticket-fixing in our police departments to test-score scandals in our schools, from our elected leaders' extra-marital affairs to financial schemes undermining our economy, dishonesty ...
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From ticket-fixing in our police departments to test-score scandals in our schools, from our elected leaders' extra-marital affairs to financial schemes undermining our economy, dishonesty seems to be a ubiquitous part of the news. But it's not just true in the headlines - we ALL cheat.Written by
I once had a heated online discussion with someone after I confessed to occasionally downloading a track on to my I-pod or watching a film on pirate websites "What's the difference between that and stealing out of a shop ?" I was asked
"Honest question so I'll give you an honest answer" I replied "I don't consider watching a film on a pirate website as stealing where as if I popped in to a supermarket ad stole a bottle of booze that is undoubtedly theft" . I was then told that not only was it still theft watching films and listening to music without paying for it but I supposedly knew it was theft even though I wasn't going to admit it . Hmmmm
Everyone can make up their own mind but again watching something on say youtube is not actually the same as going in to a store and stealing a copy of the DVD . It's certainly not the same as being a burglar , a carjacker , a bank robber or the common garden variety sneaky , sticky fingered thief . This documentary directed by Yael Melamede does explain why dishonesty can be self justified
Prof Dan Ariely is a scientist specialising in human behaviour . He conducted something called the matrix experiment where test subjects are paid to answer questions - the more questions they answer correctly the more money they get paid . They've to check their own answers and put their papers in a shredder without the assessor seeing it . The thing is the "shredder" isn't a shredder at all and the scientists retrieve the papers and see how honest /dishonest people have been . And there's similar types of experiments carried out intercut with people who have committed dishonest acts such as insider dealing or infidelity
One fascinating justification people use isn't so much as "It isn't really cheating" but more along the lines of "Everyone else does it so let me off" . Perhaps even more interestingly the idea of getting caught is of little deterrence because the self justification seems to negate any potential punishment . An interesting documentary on human nature
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