If you think you're an honest person, think again. In his latest book, "The Honest Truth About Dishonesty," Dan Ariely says we are all cheaters.
Ariely joined The Daily Circuit to talk about his new book and explain the research he used to prove we're all guilty of some unethical behavior in our lives.
"We want to view ourselves as honest, wonderful people and when we cheat ... as long as we cheat just a little bit, we can still view ourselves as good people, but once we start cheating too much ... we can't view ourselves as good people and therefore we stop," Ariely said in an interview with NPR. "So this model of trying to balance the ability to view ourselves as good people on one hand and the ability to cheat on the other hand predicts that people will cheat a little bit and they will still feel good about themselves. ... That's what we see across many, many experiments."
VIDEO: Dan Ariely on our buggy moral code
Are there places and times when you think its okay to lie and cheat? What do you do when you see someone else cheating or lying?
Darcy said via the PIN:
"When it comes to my health or the health of my family, I'll tell a white lie. I'd rather be overprotective on this topic than open about it in most circumstances.
"So, in response to "How are you?" I'll say "Fine," nineteen times out of twenty. "
Scott told us he stays truthful at work:
"I'm not smart enough (to lie); I can't work with anything but the truth as far as I know it. Working with lies would just be way too complicated for me to keep track of.
Kimber told us via our Public Insight Network (PIN):
"There is a great distinction between a lie meant to keep another from pain and a lie that hurts some one. Most of us know the difference. Some of us know how very precious trust is."
Remember...you can be anonymous on this chat.
"My family is multiracial and has many gender identities. Until I am sure of a person's social and ethical perspective, and as a protective measure, I often choose not to share the specifics of myself and my family.
"I have even given my school's phone number in place of our home number, leaving the voice mail to take a message, because I was not comfortable with the person/s."
Giles sees a big difference between lying and cheating, both of which Dan Ariely has studied:
"Cheating and lying are, mostly, two very different things.
"Cheating is the breaking of rules (or laws) or agreement, written, spoken or implied. It is the taking of an "unfair" advantage over parties who conform. It is done most often for personal advantage rather than from any empathy although it may be justified as such: a better job, more money, my family's better off.
"Cheating is more often a considered choice where a lie may arise in a split second."
Dan Ariely says that we teach our kids to lie. It starts when they hear us answer, "Honey, how do I look in this?"
New York magazine published an article about kids and lying in 2008. It was by Po Bronson.
Altruistic cheating: When you lie or cheat so that others will benefit. Ariely says that is the motivation for many lies in the political world.
Today, Paul Krugman on the lying about Obamacare:
"At one level, the most striking thing about the campaign against reform was its dishonesty. Remember “death panels”? Remember how reform’s opponents would, in the same breath, accuse Mr. Obama of promoting big government and denounce him for cutting Medicare? Politics ain’t beanbag, but, even in these partisan times, the unscrupulous nature of the campaign against reform was exceptional."
Caller says that she smuggles food into theaters. She had a hard time explaining it to her kids. Her justification is that the cost of theater food is too high.
Her mother smuggled food into the theater, too.
With regard to altruistic cheating:
I wonder if people are more likely to lie if they have a family to take care of as opposed to those who are single & without children.
If one has a family, then the benefits one accrues from lying & cheating are not necessarily for oneself, but for one's dependants. I can see a moral slippery slope in that thought process.
Dan says: In his discussions with big cheaters -- in particular a family that owned a corrupt business -- what was interesting was that that cheating family, they would cheat the government, insurance companies, their customers but not one another. Ever. It was a moral violation to lie or cheat when it came to their family members.
Do you call someone out for lying and cheating?
No. But you do always remember that all words from that person's mouth are suspect forever. Better the devil you know; you calling someone out is not going to make them change behavior and only leads to conflict.
Once a Casino gave me to much change.
I didn't say anything and went on my way. I justified it as... since its a gaming establishment I must won a game when cashing out. Sometimes the house does lose :)
My five year old talks and talks, sometimes I tune him out and when he askes a question, I just say "Yes' ...I guess that's a lie because I have no idea what he was talking about.
Stefanie wrote to me:
"I don't think it's ever really okay to lie. That being said, I also don't think it's okay to be brutally honest with someone and hurt them, and use "being honest" as a crutch for causing pain or harm. I think a difficult truth can still be shared tactfully and compassionately. "
I lied when I was young but I kept track of the lies I told and who I told them to and who they might talk to so that I wouldn't get caught.
That's a lot of work so I quit and try not to do more than really minor things that only I know the answer to.
Life is easier this way and I find I avoid those who I find lie a lot as knowing them gets to be too much work as you are always trying to figure out truths from lies and how it affects you.
Are there places and times when you think its okay to lie and cheat?
Yes. dark alley--man with gun. I think absolutes rules will drive people crazy with guilt. Wow, everyone types faster than me.
Here's Dan's bio page.
Linda said in an email:
"The hardest lies to detect are the ones I tell myself. I am an optimist. Sometimes the truth about myself isn't rosy and denial takes over. "
How do you reset the moral compass of a person or a group? Ariely says that the Catholic confession works. Talking about a lie helps a person restart and start fresh.
Ariely also says that the reconciliation process in South Africa is a good model.
@DailyCircuit it's amazing ppl still like me. Blunt honesty is my fav policy b/c lying requires remembering who u lied 2 & what u said
@KerriMPR If movie theaters served decent food, I'd stop smuggling stuff in. I don't feel one bit guilty.
Dan Ariely says honor codes work. t.co