The Effect of White Lies: How Dishonest Actions Can Subconsciously Influence Self-Concept and Future Decisions Open Access

Kovalenko, Nikita (2016)

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People are given opportunities to act dishonestly in their daily lives - how do they generally act? Does being dishonest right now make people less honest later? Multiple studies have shown some patterns in dishonest behavior and that people usually behave a little dishonestly - just enough to where they still feel a strong sense of integrity. This behavior is due to self-concept - our perception of ourselves is a huge influence on how we behave. The perception people have of themselves incorporates a "personal fudge factor" for how much they can cheat without altering how they perceive themselves. By setting up an experiment/exam that allows individuals to act dishonestly without repercussion and actually incentivizes it, we can see this phenomenon at work. The question is, how does what we choose to do one time affect the next? When the same group of students take the exam multiple times without fear of being traced, we get an idea. We find that our "personal fudge factor" needs time to reset itself, for example. Unfortunately, we also find things we don't completely account for which limits the extrapolation of more data. That being said, the framework of this experiment can be built upon to discover just how exactly our morality influences our behavior.

Table of Contents

I) Introduction

II) Literature Review

III) Methodology

IV) Data Analysis

V) Conclusion

VI) General Discussion

VII) References

VIII) Appendix

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