Dan Ariely: Why we think it's OK to cheat and steal (sometimes)

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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Comment by peacenymph69 on April 24, 2009 at 3:20am

Comment by Andrew Sambou on March 19, 2009 at 7:59pm
Thanks very much for you efforts . i am very happy to see the change you are developing for all the peace builders in the world
thanks one's again
Comment by David Gould on March 19, 2009 at 3:25am
Dan Ariely makes some interesting points although I would take issue with some of his testing methodology. For a start moral questions and codes are not unique to those with religious beliefs. As Plato's student Aristotle grapples with Ethics in the 340s BCE he is constantly reminding us that belief is not the basis of prudent or good living...

"If we apply deductive logic to the material of ethics, it is always necessary to have a major premise of the form 'since the end(or supreme good) is such and such'- whatever it may be, let it be anything you like for the sake of argument. Now the supreme good appears such only to the good man, for vice gives a twist to our minds, making it hold false opinions about the principles of ethics. It is therefore obvious that a man cannot be prudent unless he be good." (book six The Ethics of Aristotle trans J Thomson-Penguin Books 1955)

There has to be the ability of being a good person in and of itself before applying any higher divine ethical pressure. In other words it is possible to want and to actually do the right thing simply because it is the right thing for a good character...if he had chosen non students and instead taken a few mature people who have lived out in the world for a while them his results would have been different...true a certain proportion would always cheat given the opportunity but a higher proportion would have been honest as that is true their actual inner core code whether gained from experience or example. A proportion of people are honest whether they have religious reasons or not and to introduce the ten commandments into a scientific testing situation is to create a false expectation as he admitted even in non-believers...What he did demonstrate is that people tend to behave in the way in which they think they are expected to behave...which could explain why we have relatively few of the bust-ups we see on other sites here on ipeace...there is an expected norm which most of us agree to or we would not be here...I wonder what would have happened if his sample had been made up of peace activists...would we have been more honest than our fellows or not...but a well planned and executed little talk not without its amusing asides.
Comment by evelyn rasco on March 18, 2009 at 7:46pm
peolpe now have no morals only true belivers in god have morals others go on with life lieing and cheating until they are expose then they find some morals when it is too late
Comment by sister patricia on March 18, 2009 at 7:29pm
The last part is the most interesting to me. That we think our own intuition is right and that we never examine all of the learning and experiences that create the filter through which we decide. Given that we get this filter from some of the most untrustworthy though well meaning people in our lives, our parents and primary cargivers, why is it that we trust it so much. We think it is our own thinking but it is not. Something to ponder.
Comment by F.J Lopez De La Serna on March 18, 2009 at 4:47pm
Un abrazo
Comment by Hatice Yalçın on March 18, 2009 at 4:23pm
Wonderful! Definitely True!
Comment by Chris Coverdale on March 18, 2009 at 3:06pm
Fascinating. This has some very important implications for the Peace Movement. I have been wondering why leaders such as Bush and Blair, Brown and Cheney can cheat the public so dramatically and not seem to relate their evil decisions to wage war with the consequences such as the mass murder of 1million people, including 300,000 children! If none of their [in]group [the Cabinet] see the decision to go to war to be wrong and all agree with it then it makes it easier to for them to rationalise their behaviour as "only slightly wrong". I'd be interested to consider these issues with Dan and get his ideas on what we can do about it.
Comment by mpho on March 18, 2009 at 2:23pm
thanx u David. very interesting
Comment by csaporittis@hotmail.com on March 18, 2009 at 2:03pm

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