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Why Do People Forget Dishonest Actions? | American Council on Science and Health

See on Scoop.itBounded Rationality and Beyond

In a 1997 U.S. News and World Report survey, 1,000 Americans were asked: “Who do you think is most likely to get into heaven?” According to respondents, then-president Bill Clinton had a 52 percent chance; basketball star Michael Jordan had a 65 percent chance; and Mother Teresa had a 79 percent chance. Guess who topped even Mother Teresa? The people who completed the survey, with a score of 87 percent. As the results of this survey suggest, most of us have a strong desire to view ourselves in a positive light, especially when it comes to honesty. We care very much about being moral. In fact, psychological research on morality shows that we hold an overly optimistic view of our capacity to adhere to ethical standards. We believe that we are intrinsically more moral than others, that we will behave more ethically than others in the future and that transgressions committed by others are morally worse than our own. So, how do these beliefs of our moral selves play out in our day-to-day actions? As researchers who frequently study how people who care about morality often behave dishonestly, we decided to find out.

See on acsh.org



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