Robin Hood meets Pinocchio: Justifications increase cheating behavior but decrease physiological tension

Journal Article (Journal Article)

We investigated whether altruistic justification increases cheating behavior while suppressing its associated physiological arousal. In the first study (n = 60), participants strategically employed altruistic considerations to justify their dishonesty and promote their personal goals. In the second study (n = 110), participants who worked to benefit others (compared to participants who worked to benefit themselves) cheated more and were less likely to be detected by a lie detector test. In addition, among participants who worked to benefit others, more honest participants experienced higher psychological distress than dishonest participants. These findings suggest that physiological arousal may be a good indicator of self-interest cheating, but not justified one.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Hochman, G; Peleg, D; Ariely, D; Ayal, S

Published Date

  • June 1, 2021

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 92 /

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 2214-8051

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 2214-8043

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.socec.2021.101699

Citation Source

  • Scopus