Default options significantly influence individualsÕ tendencies to comply with public policy goals such as organ donation. We extend that notion and explore the role defaults can playin encouraging (im)moral conduct in two studies. Building on previous research into omissionand commission we show that individuals cheat most when it requires passively accepting adefault, incorrect answer (Omission). More importantly, despite equivalent physical effort,individuals cheat less when it requires
overriding a default, correct answer (Super-Commission)than when simply giving an incorrect answer (Commission) Ð because the former is psychologically harder. Furthermore, while people expect physical and psychological costs toinfluence cheating, they do not believe that it takes a fundamentally different moral character toovercome either cost. Our findings support a more nuanced perspective on the implication of thedifferent types of costs associated with default options and offer practical insights for policy,such as taxation, to nudge honesty.
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