Research Shows People Can Get High on Lies
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - Are you doing something wrong -- like cheating or cutting corners dishonestly -- to get ahead? There's some interesting new research suggests that we get a little thrill from these unethical acts, no matter how small.
The new study, published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, concludes that, at least in the short term, being deceitful brings delight.
The researchers gave participants the opportunity to cheat, on things like word games and puzzles. Some were offered money in exchange for cheating. Up to half ended up cheating, and most of the participants said they felt better afterwards than those who were honest.
The new research contradicts other studies which had previously shown that doing something dishonest makes people feel bad about themselves.
The researchers say the difference could be that this study only looked at the immediate effects of cheating. They believe perhaps then that cheating creates what they dub a "short lived euphoria" that may, over time, turn into guilt.
But the research also shows the high you get by cheating could prompt more cheating. Researchers call it a "vicious cycle of increasing dishonesty."