When was the last time you engaged in unethical behavior? Be honest, now, and be specific: What time of day was it when you cheated on that test, lied to your spouse, or stole that item from the company break room?
If it was late afternoon or evening, you don’t have an excuse, exactly, but you certainly have company.
A newly published paper entitled The Morning Morality Effect suggests we’re more likely to act unethically later in the day. It provides further evidence that self-control is a finite resource that gradually gets depleted, and can’t be easily accessed when our reserves are low.
“Our findings suggest that mere time of day can lead to a systematic failure of good people to act morally,” write Maryam Kouchaki of Harvard University and Isaac Smith of the University of Utah. Their study is published in the journal Psychological Science.
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