Does the chance of getting caught affect how likely we are to cheat? Under what conditions are you most likely to cheat? Does working with others make us more or less honest? These are questions that behavioral economist Daniel Ariely dove into with over 30,000 people. He learned that most of us think of ourselves as honest, but in fact, we all cheat. With his research he also disproved the general assumption that cheating, like most other decisions, is tied to some rational cost-benefit analysis. According to Ariely’s findings, it's actually much more dependent on irrational forces—like whether we’re tired or hungry, or we’re suffering from “ego depletion”—that often determine whether we behave ethically or not. He also found that once we start cheating, it’s more difficult to stop.
Why do you think people lie?
Dan Ariely, a professor of psychology and behavioral economics at Duke University; his latest book is “The Honest Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone--Especially Ourselves”