Too Tired to Tell the Truth: Self-Control Resource Depletion and Dishonesty.

Published

Journal Article

The opportunity to profit from dishonesty evokes a motivational conflict between the temptation to cheat for selfish gain and the desire to act in a socially appropriate manner. Honesty may depend on self-control given that self-control is the capacity that enables people to override antisocial selfish responses in favor of socially desirable responses. Two experiments tested the hypothesis that dishonesty would increase when people's self-control resources were depleted by an initial act of self-control. Depleted participants misrepresented their performance for monetary gain to a greater extent than did non-depleted participants (Experiment 1). Perhaps more troubling, depleted participants were more likely than non-depleted participants to expose themselves to the temptation to cheat, thereby aggravating the effects of depletion on cheating (Experiment 2). Results indicate that dishonesty increases when people's capacity to exert self-control is impaired, and that people may be particularly vulnerable to this effect because they do not predict it.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Mead, NL; Baumeister, RF; Gino, F; Schweitzer, ME; Ariely, D

Published Date

  • January 2009

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 45 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 594 - 597

PubMed ID

  • 20047023

Pubmed Central ID

  • 20047023

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0022-1031

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.jesp.2009.02.004

Language

  • eng