Holier Than Thou? We’ll Be The Judge Of That.
Everyoneâ��s got that friend, the one whoâ��s always doing good deeds: Giving $20 bills to the homeless, donating time to local charities, and telling you that you should be doing the same. Hereâ��s the ugly truth: Horns may be holding up their halos. [Live Science]
A new study finds that a sense of moral superiority can lead to unethical acts, such as cheating. In fact, some of the best do-gooders can become the worst cheats.
In the study, detailed in the November issue of the Journal of Applied Psychology, researchers find that when that thin line between right and wrong is ambiguous among people who think of themselves as having high moral standards, the do-gooders can become the worst of cheaters.
So why are do-gooders cheating? Plain and simple moral justification. The researchers suggest that an â��ethical personâ�� could view cheating as an OK thing to do, justifying the act as a means to a moral end.
And then there are environmental factors. A competitive playing field, whether at a university or business, can also motivate cheating behaviors. For example, as part of the study, more than 90 percent of students at a Washington university reported having committed at least one of 13 cheating behaviors.
No, Ted Haggard, youâ��re not forgiven.