Featured Research: Unethical Behavior

Top view of blank envelope with dollar banknotes on wooden desktop.

When a “Golden Opportunity” to Bribe Arises, It’s Hard to Pass Up

Studies led by researchers at VU Amsterdam suggest that the path to corrupt behavior may sometimes be a steep cliff instead of a slippery slope, contrary to popular belief… More

  • We’re averse to hypocrites because their disavowal of bad behavior sends a false signal, misleading us into thinking they’re virtuous... More

    Man fingers crossed behind a backside

    We Dislike Hypocrites Because They Deceive Us

    We’re averse to hypocrites because their disavowal of bad behavior sends a false signal, misleading us into thinking they’re virtuous... More

  • Researchers propose that people behave immorally only to a certain extent so that they can profit from their misconduct but still feel moral... More

    Macro view of 1040 US Tax Form, calculator and ballpoint pen

    The Ethical Calculus of the Tax Cheat

    Researchers propose that people behave immorally only to a certain extent so that they can profit from their misconduct but still feel moral... More

  • Unethical behavior isn’t necessarily the price of doing business. An international research team highlights steps organizations can take to combat unethical behavior on the job... More

    Wrong Versus Right Street Sign

    Three Tactics for Tackling Unethical Behavior

    Unethical behavior isn’t necessarily the price of doing business. An international research team highlights steps organizations can take to combat unethical behavior on the job... More

  • Focusing on customer service can help to boost business performance, but high ethical standards also play an important role in driving these outcomes, researchers find... More

    Hundred dollar bills hanging from a clothesline

    How Dishonest Behavior Can Turn Into Corporate Misconduct

    Focusing on customer service can help to boost business performance, but high ethical standards also play an important role in driving these outcomes, researchers find... More

  • Developing theory of mind, a critical social skill, may enable children to engage in the sophisticated thinking necessary for intentionally deceiving others... More

    Shocked and surprised boy looking into copy space concept for amazement, astonishment, making a mistake, stunned and speechless

    Understanding Others’ Thoughts Enables Young Kids to Lie

    Developing theory of mind, a critical social skill, may enable children to engage in the sophisticated thinking necessary for intentionally deceiving others... More

  • Two experiments show that people are apt to cheat in favor of their self-interest but only when the situation is ambiguous enough to provide moral cover... More

    Golfer tipping golf ball into the hole

    Ambiguous Situations Make It Easier to Justify Ethical Transgressions

    Two experiments show that people are apt to cheat in favor of their self-interest but only when the situation is ambiguous enough to provide moral cover... More

  • Despite the threat of penalties, some people decide that the government won’t be getting their tax money. Psychological science shows what motivates some to pay and others not... More

    Businessman running away from huge pendulum with message tax

    The Taxman Cometh: Science Explains Why Some Pay and Others Evade

    Despite the threat of penalties, some people decide that the government won’t be getting their tax money. Psychological science shows what motivates some to pay and others not... More

  • Various factors -- including values and beliefs about what is correct, patterns of social orientation, and cost-benefit expectations -- interact to produce unethical behavior... More

    One straight arrow amidst many winding arrows

    Uncovering the Intricacies of Unethical Behavior

    Various factors -- including values and beliefs about what is correct, patterns of social orientation, and cost-benefit expectations -- interact to produce unethical behavior... More

Psychological scientists identify factors that prompt people to lie, cheat, bribe, and steal and strategies for addressing such unethical behavior.

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