New Research From Psychological Science

Read about the latest research published in Psychological Science:

The Morality of Larks and Owls: Unethical Behavior Depends on Chronotype as Well as Time of Day

Brian C. Gunia, Christopher M. Barnes, and Sunita Sah

In 2014, Kouchaki and Smith published an article suggesting that people are more moral in the morning than they are in the afternoon. In this commentary, Gunia and colleagues examined whether differences in the patterns of people’s circadian rhythms (i.e., chronotype) influence this phenomenon. Participants categorized as morning or evening people performed a task in either the morning or the evening in which they had the opportunity to cheat. Morning people were more likely to cheat during evening test sessions, whereas evening people were more likely to cheat during morning test sessions. This finding indicates that the fit between the time of day and a person’s chronotype may be a better predictor of ethical behavior than time of day alone.

Does the Morning Morality Effect Hold True Only for Morning People?

Isaac H. Smith and Maryam Kouchaki

In this response, Smith and Kouchaki commend Gunia and colleagues for adding to this area of research but note that several methodological differences between their original study and the study from Gunia and colleagues may have led to the discrepant findings. Gunia and colleagues excluded people with an intermediate chronotype, and they used a more extreme difference in time between morning and evening testing sessions. These considerations could have contributed to their inability to replicate the main effect of time of day on morality. They suggest that future research should focus on better understanding the individual and combined influence of chronotype and time of day on morality and the mechanisms underlying this effect.

The Long Reach of One’s Spouse: Spouses’ Personality Influences Occupational Success

Brittany C. Solomon and Joshua J. Jackson 

How does your choice of partner influence your occupational success? Data from the Household Labor and Dynamics in Australia survey were used to assess the effect of spousal Big-Five personality traits (openness, extraversion, agreeableness, neuroticism, and conscientiousness) on partner occupational success. The researchers found that spousal conscientiousness was related to partner occupational success, as measured by pay increases, job satisfaction, and promotions. The authors suggest that conscientious spouses help create a supportive and less stressful home environment, which allows their partners to focus more on their work. This suggests that choice of spouse is important for both personal and professional happiness.


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