If someone’s about to go into a cold swimming pool, they’ll probably use one of two tactics. They might dip a toe in, wade in to the ankles, and slowly, slowly inch their body into the water until they’re completely submerged. Or they’ll just cannonball in, and get it over with.
If it’s not a cold swimming pool someone is entering, but rather the icy waters of corruption, which of these two strategies will they choose? Many would say the first; corruption is often characterized as a “slippery slope,” something into which a person or organization slowly descends as more and more small immoral acts add up. But a new study published in Psychological Science argues that people are more likely to abruptly do something extremely unethical than to slowly build up to it—to cannonball into corruption.
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